Customer satisfaction is crucial, says Spinlet CEO Nkiru Balonwu

Spinlet is a digital media distribution company that focusses on Africa-centric content. It operates Africa’s leading store for legal sales of home-grown music, accessible globally through mobile apps (iOS and Android) and browsers (

Nkiru Balonwu is CEO of the Spinlet Group. Before being appointed CEO, she had worked at different times as the company’s General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | July 11, 2016

Balonwu will be among the speakers at WAN-IFRA’s upcoming Digital Media Africa, which takes place from 28-30 September in Johannesburg, South Africa. In this interview, she tells us about her plans for the company, its main challenges and what news publishers can learn from Spinlet’s experience.

WAN-IFRA: How many users does Spinlet have worldwide, and in which countries are you seeing the most growth?

Balonwu: Earlier this year, we saw the 2 millionth subscription to the Spinlet service, and our website sees 1,300 unique visitors a day on average.

In order of volume, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya are where most of our users are based, though we are seeing a gradual increase in UK and US subscriptions as well.

What are some of the main challenges facing the company?

One of the main challenges in our line of business is the inadequacy of micropayments. In the African region, particularly, overhead can often outweigh revenue that is dependent on micropayments.

This can force businesses like Spinlet to focus on services that attract bulk payments, instead of the primary business purpose of selling music. That said, Spinlet manages to balance this very well, and we’ve seen a number of successful projects executed alongside the sales of the content on our platform.

What are your goals for Spinlet this year?

We are currently working on a number of integrations that should expand the scope of our services exponentially. Once we’re done with that, we’re looking at firmly establishing our presence in the previously mentioned markets, before turning our attention to other territories, particularly in Africa. We have a well-crafted road map for that.

Since most of our readers work for news media publishing companies, can you see a way that your model might be applied to a news publisher?

The Spinlet model can be applied to any content publisher. However, one must consider the attitudes of consumers to said content. If the demand for free music is significant, the demand for free information is even more so. News is information.

Spinlet currently operates a ‘freemium,’ ad-supported service as well as a premium, paid-subscription service. There is a large gap between the respective users of both. With a news publisher, we suspect the gap would be even larger.

There is a lot of free music on the web. How do you get people to pay, and what do you think the news publishing industry can learn from your experience?

Piracy continues to be a huge challenge, as most users would prefer to get free music wherever they can find it. This isn’t helped by the attitudes of some content providers, as they seem happy enough to provide free music in exchange for popularity.

However, people who use Spinlet are more interested in getting a great experience, good customer service and value for money.

They come to us, primarily because they don’t want to have to bounce around several (possibly dodgy) sites, searching for their music. With Spinlet, they have a reliable hub where they can get the latest and hottest content.

The carousel on our homepage is updated weekly to keep our users up-to-date on new releases. Searching for music by artist, genre, track or album is easy on Spinlet, and we have lots of playlists to suit a range of occasions.

We also have value-added services, like our newsletter, that add to the customer’s experience.

Our support team operates nearly round-the-clock and will often answer queries via social media, which our users see as a big plus. They like not having to call or send long emails to resolve issues.

More than anything, the news publishing industry should remember that commercial clout has shifted. It is now firmly in the hands of the customer and the customer knows it. Customer satisfaction must be of paramount priority.

For programme and speaker details for Digital Media Africa, click here.

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