Local mobile device maker and software company Astro ,today presented its Mobi Store product to local artists in a “round table” discussion at Alliance Française. Astro Mobi Store team leader, Leonard Mufati presented the solution which Astro hopes will help counter piracy of local content.
Although some prominent local musicians like Cindy, Baba Shupi and Victor Kunonga attended the event, the attendance was very low and the number of people present could not fill the small auditorium a Alliance Française.
The Astro Mobi Store is an application were local content producers can upload and sell their content on. The primary value proposition that Astro tried to sell to the artists was that selling their content on the Astro Mobi Store would limit exposure to piracy because, as Astro claims, all content on the Astro Mobi Store will be encrypted and programmed to play on an Astro made media player.
The idea was however not well received from the artists that attended. Generally the artists did not feel that Astro’s solution will solve the piracy solution but welcomed the platform as a distribution vehicle. Mr Mufati even admitted himself that their Mobi store solution will fight piracy in “a small way”.
However, Astro is angling to tie down artists in an exclusive arrangement were all content is distributed on their Mobi Store. This would, in a way, guarantee that all music sales pass through the Astro Mobi Store with Astro and the Content owners splitting the proceeds 40-60 respectively.
The general vibe from the artists present was an unwillingness to list exclusively on the Astro Mobi Store because they felt the solution does not guarantee them that their music will disappear from the streets. The did however, welcome the Astro Mobi Store as “just another option” for artists to distribute their music or content.
This first meeting was not to try to get the artist to commit but to get feedback from the content owners and it seems Astro have been pointed back to the drawing board. The majority of Artists present were not excited about Astro’s key “secure content” value proposition and they showed an unwillingness to let go of existing distribution methods (CDs and digital sales on other platforms).
Astro also failed to present the product in a big way. The Astro Mobi Store is an app and you’d have thought a technology company like Astro would demo the product but that didn’t happen. The presentation was done through text slides and most people at the event left the venue still wondering what the Astro Mobi Store looks like or how it works.