Interview with Hyunkeun Yoon, COO of Karaoke Blockchain Platform, SOMESING
@Just_CzarinaMa. Czarina mai Delos Reyes
Having 3 years of experience in Writing, Czarina is fully immersed in Blockchain & Allied Industries
A self-starting entrepreneur with 13 years of experience in HR managing, Hyunkeun Yoon. SOMESING is another Blockchain project, which recently won at the Blockbattle Korea 2.
What’s your story ? Tell us a little about your background?
Hi, I am Hyunkeun Yoon. I consider myself one of many blockchain enthusiasts and it is a great honor to be featured on Hackernoon. Before joining the Blockchain Field, I was an HR manager in charge of the assessment center, focusing on evaluation, compensation and labor laws for 14 years at various major firms that represent South Korea. I have walked the way of an HRer with experience in managing over 2000 employees in SsangYong E&C and LG Fashion. I was fortunate enough for LG to support me with higher education and have completed two MBAs in the human resources organization. With various experiences of management, I am currently leading the firm as Chief Operating Officer of SOMESING.
How did you cross paths with Somesing? When did you become the COO?
My story is no different from others. With my friend talking about cryptocurrency over a beer, I studied and invested in cryptocurrency with the first purchase of ETH in April of 2017.
I was an investor at the time, so my studies were profit-driven perspective. As of early 2018, I met our current CEO and CSO and was offered to utilize my expertise in management. I am glad that I found what I truly wanted to do and have drafted SOMESING's white paper and clarified the scope of the business.
Can you describe Somesing as a product in your words? What’s the unique differentiator in your opinion?
SOMESING is the world's first blockchain-based karaoke app service. More than 1 billion people use the karaoke app and it is operated as a paid service that pays monthly fees for copyrights and music sourcing fees. However, SOMESING is designed to enable other users to support and present song content created by users through a token economy based on its own token SSX.
Tokens accumulated by supports and gifts will return 70 percent as compensation to users such as content creators and supporters, and cover copyright fees, music sourcing fees and operating expenses with the remaining 30 percent, according to the smart contact.
This SOMESING token economy allows us to provide our service for free.
SOMESING has completed its contract with copyright associations such as Korea and Japan, and has signed contracts with Korean and Japanese music suppliers on the supply of music sources, enabling the company to operate services reliably on legal issues such as copyrights and neighboring copyrights. The contracts with copyright associations and music providers for global services will continue to expand.
SOMESING App was released in Google Store and Apple Store, so it can be downloaded and checked at any time.
What went into building the initial product? What were the key challenges ?
The previous SOMESING app has been operated as a paid service for four years because the service involved music had to pay copyrights and music sourcing fees.
In addition, about 80 percent of the early users left the karaoke app without switching to a paid one at a certain point after enjoying some services for free. To solve this problem, SOMESING used the token economy of the blockchain. It has developed a new business model that can offer app services free of charge by creating a user-to-user compensation structure.
2019 was a very important year for Somesing. Can you tell us why ?
With the year almost drawing to its end, the Year 2019 was a hectic but a fruitful time for SOMESING. We released our first Minimal Visual Product in early 2019, and have prepared throughout the year for a greater leap forward. We were able to verify that our designed token-economy was functioning properly through six months of the beta period, with our target users to join the platform. Throughout the beta period, I was surprised to find our application reach 140,000 downloads with 70,000 active users without any actual user acquisition campaign. Our team is quite proud of our conversion rate, and we hope to start our marketing campaign in the near future.
How have you attracted users and built such a large community base around the product ?
I believe that the limitation of many existing blockchain projects is that many have tried to create a ‘service for blockchain’. The real advantages of blockchain and amount of utility that it can provide for users is often ignored. My team and I strongly believe that for blockchain to be applied for a service, the technology has to solve an existing problem in the market sector, and offer something more than simple compensation of tokens for the stakeholders. We, SOMESING, have applied the blockchain technology to service karaoke for everyone for free, and have designed the UI/UX of our application to minimize the technological barrier that it may cause for the everyday users. In short, our end goal is for our users to not know blockchain is used within our service, while receiving the full benefits that blockchain technology offers.
What’s your business model and how are you planning on growing a steady revenue stream?
Existing karaoke applications all work under the business model of monthly subscription. And this is a key defining feature that differentiates SOMESING from the rest of the competitors. We have applied a transaction-based fee model, similar to twitch.tv, using blockchain so that when each user donates our token to another user, certain percentage is charged per transaction. This creates SOMESING’s unique ecosystem where all users can enjoy singing for free, with revenue generated between interactions of our users. The tokens can also be acquired through various activities that contributes to activation of SOMESING or can be purchased on various token exchanges. A wallet is created per each song posted on the application with the wallet to be distributed after 4 weeks via smart contracts. Half of entire collected tokens are to be given to the singer, with 20 percent as a reward for users who have supported the song in the earlier stages. In other words, 70% of the total is designed to be compensated to users. SOMESING collects the remaining 30 percent, with 5 percent to be used to pay copyright fees, 5 percent for music usage fees, 5 percent for reactivation of the ecosystem, and the remaining 15 percent to cover SOMESING's operating expenses. Unlike other paid service apps that receive a set fee of month subscription from their users, the service is now available for free because they receive tokens collected from token economy and pay copyright and music fees. Also, various copyright associations are fond of us, as blockchain technology ensures the correct amount of payment for them to receive.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
We have recently participated in a startup competition called “Block Battle,” held by PAX-Economy TV in South Korea. Over 100 companies from various countries have competed in a survival tournament system for several weeks, and SOMESING ended up as the final winner of “Block Battle Season 2.” We are proud that our product was acknowledged by decision-makers of major venture capitals in South Korea and Japan, and we are looking forward for any upcoming challenges.
What’s next for Somesing? Where do you see the company after the next 5 years?
Music is a universal language. People from all backgrounds consume music daily. With the explosion of K-pop in recent years with Psy from ‘Gangnam Style’ and BTS, the timing is perfect for us to enter foreign market where K-pop is highly consumed. Our next roadmap is user acquisition like any other application. Our target is to acquire one million users in the first two quarters of official launch and reach 10 million downloads within two years. Because our product is suited for viral spread across multiple target countries, we plan to capture the untapped South Eastern market in Asia, including Indonesia and Japan. With population of over 100 million, SOMESING’s token economy has been structured to bring users from various countries.
Do you have any message for the investors & followers of Somesing ?
SOMESING is a service with mission to service music for free, so that all can sing as much as they want. SOMESING has methodically developed its token economy to provide adequate compensation for content creators as well as disrupt the must-pay industry by providing free service. We hope to capture the most of what blockchain can offer, and willl strive forward to become the Killer Dapp, leading the way of true blockchain commercialization.
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