Buddie Beatz has been around for a long time now. 11 Months now if we’re being precise. Since it’s launch the monthly packages price was reduced but so was the data you get to stream music using the application.
For a monthly package, you now part with $3 instead of the launch price of $5, and when I saw the price I knew this was as good a time as any to take the service for a spin.
So I paid the ZW$3 for the monthly package and started my listening journey, and whilst there were many things to like there were some pretty disconcerting flaws as wells – as with any product/service to varying degrees.
One of the things I appreciated after accessing the full catalogue for Buddie Beatz was the fact that there are so many local songs from back in the day with artists like Africa Revenge, Sandra Ndebele and Roki all being on the platform. I just used those 3 because they best represent what I was looking for on Buddie Beatz. Local music I grew up listening to but I couldn’t find easily on the internet and Buddie Beatz fills that gap.
Whilst there are 100s of artists on the platform, this isn’t to say every local artist is represented on the application but these are the things you can check during the trial period before you pay.
Everyone loves a freebie
Another great thing about Buddie Beatz at the time of writing is the pricing. At $3 a month, which translates to around 10c (US$), the pricing is actually criminally when you consider the amount of music that’s on the platform. Whilst that’s a great thing for the paying consumer I’m not sure how that bodes for the artists with the music on the platform. Maybe this is more of a double-edged sword than it is a good thing.
Whilst it doesn’t look like the most exciting music streaming service, Buddie Beatz gets the job done and simply looks like a music player. Most of us have those on our smartphones and by not overcomplicating anything there won’t be a learning curve.
Whilst we’ve already talked about the pricing raising questions about sustainability (even though it’s great for consumers in the short term), there are other things that fall in this mixed bag territory when it comes to Buddie Beatz. These are features that whilst being good, also raise questions about the platform as a whole.
Offline downloads are pretty great. Why? Because we don’t always have a WiFi connection at hand and in those instances, we might want to listen to our music. Whilst Buddie Beatz offers offline downloads, they do it differently from other streaming services.
On Deezer for instance, if you download a song for offline listening, you can only listen to it in the Deezer application and it won’t appear in your music player.
With Buddie Beatz, once you have downloaded a song for offline listening the download appears in your music player under downloads which means of users want they can pay the 0.50c daily package for Buddie Beatz, download 100s of songs, uninstall the application and listen to the music in their phone.
As you can probably tell, this doesn’t bode well for the sustainability of an application which requires users to pay a monthly subscription fee. If I can access the content by paying once and taking the content off the platform, that breaks the subscription model and is in fact one of the biggest problems Econet will have to solve if they want their application to be here in 5 years time.
One of the biggest drawbacks with Buddie Beatz is that there are certain artists who aren’t on the platform. I couldn’t find Oliver Mtukudzi – arguably Zimbabwe’s biggest musician on the platform. Whilst people who understand the workings of the music industry might be able to understand why other artists are omitted from the platform, the regular person will just think, “I was told there’s Zimbabwean music on this platform, why isn’t my favourite artist on there as well”
Another glaring error which can probably be fixed via updated and the inspiration for the title of this article is that some songs simply refuse to play at times. You’ll select the song and play it but it just won’t load for whatever reason. I’m not sure if this is a problem specific to me or if other users are going through it as well, but that’s just the experience I’ve had whilst using the application.
Promising service affected by past mistakes
Econet has made a number of flat-falling products which I believe has actually affected Buddie Beatz, their best on-demand service yet.
The thing that makes Buddie Beatz unique where Kwese and these other services have failed is the fact that they are finally selling something Zimbos would actually care to buy with Buddie Beatz.
What I’m not sure about is whether or not Buddie Beatz will suffer from the fact that over the past 3 years, Econet has made some mistakes that mean consumers no longer trust the company.
An example of such a mistake, was when Econet announced a promotion where they would reward users signing up other users on Buddie Beatz. Some users signed people up and never got their rewards, and thus Buddie Beatz has left a sour taste in the mouth of that person. Whoever asks that person about Buddie Beatz will simply get a negative narrative and never use the app.
It’s a common belief that your actions will catch up to you at some point, and Econet’s actions in the past (think Kwese as well) might be affecting a really good service that offers value to customers…