Towards the end of January 2021, Twitter announced that it had acquired Revue, a service that makes it free and easy for anyone to start and publish editorial newsletters. Revue, is a great editorial newsletter service, so much so that we at iAfrikan Media used it for several years to manage this newsletter - iAfrikan Daily Brief.
It still remains one of the best newsletter services despite us having switched to an in-house newsletter service for various reasons that suit our plans and strategy.
What was interesting was what Twitter stated in the blog post announcing the acquisition of Revue:
“And for those looking to generate revenue, we’re creating a durable incentive model through paid newsletters. Bringing Revue to Twitter will supercharge this offering, helping writers grow their paid subscribers while also incentivizing them to produce engaging and relevant content that drives conversations on Twitter. You can expect audience-based monetization to be an area that we’ll continue to develop new ways to support, whether it’s helping broaden revenue streams or serving as a cornerstone of someone’s business.”
True to their word, several weeks after announcing the acquisition of Revue, Twitter announced a new “super follows” feature which they would be rolling out. In a nutshell, it is a feature that will allow Twitter users charge their followers a fee for access to exclusive content that they tweet (I assume). It is not yet available but super follows are expected to be launched later during 2021.
This was really refreshing to hear that a Big Tech company is slowly moving from an advertising and user data-based model towards one that also benefits its users.
I was reminded of the developments at Twitter because earlier today, another Big Tech company, SoundCloud, announced a feature similar to what Twitter has announced with super follows. In their case, they call it fan-powered royalties, but it’s essentially the same as super follows.
In SoundCloud’s case, listeners of a music artist’s music get to directly pay them through streaming instead of that money being put in a pool that then gets allocated based on the artist’s percentage of streams compared to other artists on the same platform. It is definitely a more equitable model. A model that has the potential to boost the incomes of African music artists who might not necessarily have the following like Drake but have their own loyal fans willing to pay for their music directly.
It’s a beautiful thing to observe as the internet heals and adopts models that honor the essence of the open web. Also, in my case, it’s amazing to see that something we were already working on almost a decade ago is being implemented as the best model today.
Today's Top Stories
💰 On 19 February 2021, it was made publicly known by sources close to some of Paystack’s investors that the Nigerian headquartered fintech company had distributed the funds received from Stripe’s $200 million acquisition. By most accounts, especially early angel investors in Paystack, their ROI was estimated to be around over 1,000%. Whichever way you cut it that’s a very profitable return especially when you consider that Paystack was founded in 2015. Definitely a great milestone for the African technology startup ecosystem. May we witness many more exits like Paystack. Link
🗄️ We need more data centers across Africa. This is becoming even more pronounced and important as our lives and businesses become more and more reliant on the internet. Nearly half, thirty-one to be precise, of Africa’s 69 colocation facilities are based either in South Africa or Nigeria. The irony of the internet is that most African websites are hosted in Europe. This highlights the importance of having more data centers across Africa. If we don’t build data centers in Africa to accommodate our needs, we will be robbing the continent of many opportunities. Link
🧾 The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) has expressed disappointment that the Section 12J VCC sunset clause isn't being extended by South Africa’s National Treasury. This was revealed by Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, as he delivered South Africa’s 2021 National Budget Speech. SAVCA CEO, Tanya van Lill, added that the Section 12J incentive was “successful in raising funding from private individuals and corporates to invest in businesses meeting the Section 12J investment criteria as set out in the Income Tax Act.” Other people have also shared the same sentiment as National Treasury, i.e. the incentive was more used as a tax benefit than creating jobs. Link
🎧 SoundCloud, the music entertainment company, has announced the introduction of what they call fan-powered royalties. SoundCloud says this is a more equitable and transparent way for emerging and independent artists to earn money on their platform. Essentially, fan-powered royalties are like an artist's fans subscribing directly to their music, i.e. instead of earning a share of the pool of the money paid by a music platform’s “Premium” subscribers, your own fans pay you directly for streaming your music. This is a move that is long overdue and will most likely be welcome by most, if not all, music artists. Link
🔒 Safaricom’s “Fair Usage Policy” has been causing a stir in Kenya among its customers. This is after the telecommunications company announced that it was permanently increasing the speeds of the Home Fiber Internet packages it offers in Kenya. This is apparently something Safaricom had not done after the outbreak of COVID-19. What raised some customers’ eyebrows is that somewhere in Safaricom's Terms and Conditions was a new clause on Fair Usage Policy which introduced limits to the amount of data that one can download per month, after which the speed would be throttled. This came as a surprise to many people. Link
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