Written By: Ubukungu
On: March 12, 2016 | Amakuru Diaspora |

Two US based Rwandans have created a new App to access Rwandan music.

For Anselme Mucunguzi and Theophile Nsengimana, living outside their country made it difficult to keep up with Rwandan music since they had no access to local radios or TV stations.

“We could not easily find all songs we wanted to listen to or know which songs were popular in Rwanda. So we decided to build a platform that would enable people to keep up with Rwandan music regardless of where they live,” Nsengimana says adding that it will be a one-stop platform for people especially in the Diaspora to keep up with Rwandan music.

The team chose to call it “Yeyote”, a Swahili word meaning “anyone”, reflects the simplicity and ease with which anyone searches, finds and listens to Rwandan music. The app is available on Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

How the app was created

Nsengimana explained that in order to design an app, some knowledge of computer science is needed.

“However, for Yeyote, it was more than that. We had to work closely with artistes and experts in Rwandan music to ensure the authenticity of songs and other information in the App. Once it was done it had to be registered with Google Play (for Android) and App Store (for iOS),” he explained.

In order for Yeyote to be sustainable over the long term, it needs to generate some revenue. Thus, it will provide some additional features such as being able to play songs offline (without using internet data) in exchange of a small monthly fee. The revenue generated will be shared by artistes (royalties) and Yeyote.

Among the advantages of Yeyote over existing platforms for Rwandan music is the fact that by simply knowing a musician’s name, one can find all their songs well organised on their profile. You can also create your own playlists which cannot be lost even with the loss of phone or memory card.

In addition, Yeyote allows one to listen to custom playlists, which are songs curated by people passionate about local music. The playlists are classified in different categories such as gospel, oldies, Hip Hop, and love ballads.

The time factor

Many people use multiple platforms including websites and file-sharing on smart phones and computers to keep up with music. This often consumes a lot of time as they switch from one platform to another. It sometimes also leads to frustration when they lose their music because they changed or lost their devices.

Nsengimana told Sunday Times: “It is impossible to find some Rwandan songs on the internet, particularly oldies (locally known as Karahanyuze) and gospel songs, and generally most songs released before 2008. Even the ones available on the internet are difficult to find, let alone listen to them”.

Internet radio

Apart from being able to search songs and artistes by name, the app also allows you to listen to “radios.” By playing one song, it automatically plays similar songs for you when that song ends.

“So, in a sense it’s like a conventional radio where you sit down and the radio keeps playing music nonstop. For instance, let’s say you want to listen to oldies or Afrobeat all morning; Yeyote enables you to do just that.” Nsengimana explained.

Musicians will reap dividends

Nsengimana hopes Yeyote will be the platform that Rwandan artistes need to take their music and careers to the next level. By partnering with them, Yeyote aims to provide them with regular income through royalties.

“Since artistes own the music that is being played in Yeyote, they will be compensated according to how many times their songs have been played,” he explained.

Besides, artists will have opportunities to engage their fans by informing them about concerts or other exciting events and projects through the app.

The New Times

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