By Benjamin Njoku
Mr Qris Chinedu Ebeatu is the CEO and Co-founder of NextXtar, a mobile app for uploading songs on digital music platforms worldwide. In this interview, Mr Ebeatu who dropped out of Lagos State University, LASU, due to financial constraint, shares his story of how he developed an app that will enable artists distribute their songs to music platforms across the world in the comfort of their homes. Excerpts:
What inspired you to establish NextXtar?
The desire to establish NextXtar was borne out of my passion for African music development and to help artists around the world distribute their songs without any bottleneck. With a mobile phone and internet an artist can upload his songs for distribution worldwide without leaving his comfort zone. Following this feat, artists from all over the world are now using NextXtar App, which is on Android and iOS stores. For now we can say the purpose of establishing NextXtar is 70% achieved. We have partnered major music distribution companies, like Sony Music, Orchard Inc, Wyld Pytch, 51 Lex Records, just to mention a few.
Are there any challenges in running NextXtar?
The challenges NextXtar had were at the initial stages of development because it takes a lot of time to create a user friendly application, which will be acceptable worldwide. The day-to-day running of NextXtar was stressful because we needed to attend to all questions and enquiries including guidance on how the platform really works. But we were able to develop a unique application and we keep developing it to meet international standards. Running NextXtar is quite challenging but our primary objective is to make sure we distribute to as many digital stores as possible, give the artists proper account of how their music is doing, provide fan links and guard the artists to the best of our abilities, promote them on all of our social media account (NextXtar) and the artists can follow us and see how we promote them on a daily basis.
What makes NextXtar different from any other music distribution company?
NextXtar is quite unique in music distribution as it distributes to over 100 digital Music Stores, ensures prompt collection of song royalties while the artists keep 100% of their music rights. NextXtar is also into licensing and publishing. The artists also collect their royalties with just a click from their NextXtar account. There are so many benefits that make NextXtar unique. There are a lot of promotional services including monthly dance completion, best skit makers and a record and video sponsorship. NextXtar also has an online Radio, called NextXtar Radio, which promotes the artists.
What were the measures that brought you this far?
What has brought us this far was the passion for talent development. Over the years, a lot of artists found it difficult to put out their songs on digital platforms. We were therefore determined that NextXtar was going to change all that and make it fun and stress free for artists to distribute their song and monitor the progress of the song performance in real time.
How do you see success?
Success means diligently contributing to society in any way to make it easier for others to succeed. NextXtar succeeding means we have been successful in our own way to be successful and with the help of partners we can say that the definition of success is within reach.
Piracy is a major issue when it comes to music distribution, do you think it has reduced compared to what it used to be years back?
With the advent of music streaming platforms, and the gradual extinct of CDs, I think the piracy has reduced to about 40% compared to the period when someone would sit in his bedroom, duplicate CDs and push it into the market. The artist now controls how and where his/her songs should be. It is a gradual process and I think in the coming years, piracy will be a thing of the past.
How do you think Nigerian artists can do better in terms of their music distribution?
The only way an artist can do better in this ever changing music industry is to work hard and produce a better song, the music industry is evolving, and it takes a strong will and determination to compete favorably. The youths are doing wonderfully well in terms of music and video productions and the new technologies which are springing up daily have helped our young artists to make better songs, and it will keep improving as the day goes by.
What is the next big thing for NextXtar?
NextXtar will keep improving to help the artists reach their full potentials, that is the next big thing for us, to keep making it easier for artists to extend their music career beyond Africa. We are introducing a lots of competitions to help artists, which include music and video productions, skit master and monthly dance competitions.
What is the proper music distribution channel?
Proper music distribution is all about artists making money from their content, as much as they can, and using NextXtar guaranteed that. It also involves reach and audience as NextXtar distributes to over 100 digital music platforms worldwide, NextXtar also guarantees full distribution and promotion as well, including licensing and publishing.
Has the acceptance of Afrobeats impacted on the distribution of Nigerian music content?
Yes, Afro beat has revolutionalized the distribution of music worldwide, the acceptance of Afrobeat is changing dramatically, a lot has changed over the last 10 years, with young African artists adapting to the afrobeat sounds, changing it to suit the young generation, and Nigeria has the population. This helped in popularizing and engendering acceptance of Afrobeat worldwide. Afrobeat which was created and popularized by the legendary late Fela Anikulako Kuti, has spread around Africa and beyond.
What is your educational background?
I had my primary school in Ogunlade Primary School, Alaba Oro, and my secondary school in Temidire High School Tolu complex Ajegunle. I also gained admission to Lagos State University LASU, but I had to drop out because of financial constraint. I am from Anambra West Local Government Area in Anambra state. I am the second child of six children.