For the past couple of decades, online music platforms have changed everything we know about music: what it sounds like, where it gets made, how it’s marketed, and how it’s consumed. In an ever-changing landscape, it’s taken some of the freshest minds to work out how to maximise each platform’s potential, with many artists developing online fanbases en route to fame, much in the way that previous generations of musicians would have developed a grassroots live following before becoming major breakout stars.
Netone has already achieved massive influence in today’s music industry, with its OneMusic platform. Now the company is launching its own music marketing and distribution platform, Rumbidzo Khulekani, to help more artists get their music heard. The new platform allows artists to upload their music directly to Rumbidzo Khulekani and to parent company NetOne’s own music streaming service OneMusic.
Going forward, musicians and producers can expect to receive all royalties resulting from the work they have shared on Rumbidzo Khulekani , for an unlimited time.
In some ways, the whole digital music revolution started with clunky old MySpace, 20 years ago. As the first successful social media and music platform, MySpace offered a new venue for marketing music, communicating with fans and building a following. But that was about all it did. The music was still the music, created for the vinyl and CD formats. And no matter how engaging you were online, you were probably still gunning to attract a label or a manager (if you were lucky), rather than build a groundswell all by yourself.
In retrospect, the MySpace years were the last gasp of the music business as we used to know it. That era’s biggest viral success was Arctic Monkeys, arguably rock’s first online superstars. But the real reason the Monkeys made it (aside from being a hell of a band) was that they tried everything: they played sweaty club shows, they gave away home-burned CDs, they uploaded demos. The latter caught on internationally, and for a time their use of grassroots marketing was big news. But it all led to the old-fashioned breakthrough of a hit single, a hit album and an international tour. The Monkeys’ savvy uploading enabled the group to spring into the traditional music biz, but not to bypass it.
Netone claims that Rumbidzo Khulekani “is on a mission to put artists at the centre of the music industry, providing the tools and insights they need to build thriving fan bases on Rumbidzo Khulekani”.
But the real news is that Netone has given momentary stardom to people with no commercial track record. We famously predict that everyone will get their 15 minutes of fame.