5 Questions for Qisimah CEO Sakhile Xulu

Sylvana Lewin, Monday February 5th 2018

Music is a common unifier around the world. On the African continent, music plays an integral role in culture and life. From the Afrobeats of Nigeria’s WizKid to Somalia’s K’naan and beyond, the African music industry is truly on the rise.

MEST portfolio company Qisimah is a radio content monitoring platform that provides key stakeholders in the music industry with real-time data in regards to their music. They track what radio stations are playing a song, and in which countries. Since the company received seed funding in August 2017, they have been making big waves in the music industry; winning a World Summit Award and receiving recognition from the Ghanaian government.

Qisimah recently partnered with the Musician Union of Ghana to create a list of the top 20 songs that received the most airplay in 2017. We spoke to Qisimah CEO Sakhile Xulu to get his insight on what had happened since.

Why did Qisimah publish the list of the top 20 songs with the most airplay in 2017?

Qisimah is an independent music consumption data company, which means we serve many different stakeholders in the music industry who use our data types for various case studies. We recently partnered with the Musician Union of Ghana, Musiga. The partnership is aimed at empowering the music industry with data. The list was published by Musiga, not Qisimah. We merely provided them with data for them to be able to publish the list.

What did you find in creating this list?

One of the biggest findings was that Gospel as a genre was not being aired as much in comparison to secular popular music. This was surprising in a sense because Ghana would describe itself as a very spiritual and religious nation.

What has the response to this list been like?

To be honest, the response has been phenomenal. At one stage the list was the biggest entertainment news in the country. The thing with music is that it is very subjective, everybody thinks the best songs or the most played songs are based on what songs are on their individual playlists. The list came as a major shock to most because some of the songs they expected to see on the list were not. It sparked a national discussion about the lack of Gospel that appeared, but more importantly gave us much-needed traction in terms of awareness.

What are you most excited for in music this year?

What excites us in general regarding the music industry this coming year is that the various stakeholders in the sector are very open-minded in finding solutions that will ultimately grow the industry. This will be beneficial to all those involved. We are on a brink of a technological renaissance when it comes to the African music industry, and it is exciting to be one of the companies in the middle of it.

What can we expect from Qisimah in the future?

In a nutshell, Qisimah wants to be the engine behind the Ghanaian, and African music industry at large, so in the coming year you can look forward to both local and global partnership announcements that will allow us to achieve this.

If you’re interested in starting a company like Sakhile’s, apply to join the next cohort at the MEST training program today! Applications for South Africa close 15 February.