African music has exploded of late, with artists receiving recognition and winning fans across the globe. And now, thanks to a revolutionary new, proudly African piece of software, the music industry is set to grow and connect with even more people across the continent. Qisimah is a radio content monitoring platform that provides everyone from label bosses and licensers to publishers and artists with real-time data of their music as it plays on radio. With Qisimah it’s not just a song to sing along to, it’s a rich feedback loop that produces invaluable insights into how music is broadcast, consumed and appreciated.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Qisimah, Sakhile Xulu, recently returned from Vienna where he collected the prize for being the most innovative start-up at the World Summit Awards. “It’s been an exhausting but exhilarating ride,” enthuses Xulu. “It was such an honour to be recognised on the global stage for the meaningful contribution we are making to African culture. We’re a fresh, young company, but we’ve already done enough to make an impact and garner attention, and this makes all our hard work really worth it.”
Xulu has always been passionate about data and how it can be used to inform decision-making and strategic development. He met up with Ghanaians Solomon Appier-Sign and Kofi Aboagye-Akyea, a duo with whom he shared interests, ideals and experience in broadcast monitoring. They saw radio as an untapped medium. Although still incredibly popular, especially in Africa, it had not been harnessed to provide the rich data and defined measurable that the Internet offered. They decided to pursue this opportunity and, after intense research, market analysis studies, blood sweat and tears, they founded their start-up and called it Qisimah, Swahili for “well of knowledge”.
Built on smart technology and deep insights, the platform is allowing the music industry to take greater control of the work it produces. Existing clients are ecstatic with the wealth of information that can be leveraged to better promote and profile their artists. Yielding the same results for both online and offline radio stations, the data offered up by Qisimah has helped clients re-strategize, plan and activate in geographic areas where musicians are underexposed. The company operates across the continent – with plans to expand around the globe – and has already asserted itself as the ultimate music consumption data company in Africa.
And the world is really Qisimah’s oyster. Xulu’s international trips have yielded some very positive results, connecting him with a host of global start-ups and lining up potential partners in the Middle East and North America. The plan is to eventually move into those territories and to increase the product offering to include radio advertisers. But for now, Xulu is happy that Qisimah has not only been a success, but that its success has helped countless others succeed. “It’s amazing when all your efforts and planning bear fruit and you see your vision coming to life,” he smiles. “But more incredible is the impact that this very special platform is having on both artists and audiences. We’re helping the industry fine-tune itself and make stronger connections. And as long as we continue to elevate African music, we know we’re doing something right”.