Although social media apps such as Instagram and Twitter have made it easier for fans to keep up with the lives of their favourite celebrities, direct access to these stars is not as easy as simply sending them a message - particularly because of the many private messages that they receive from their followers on a daily basis.
This is why award-winning record label boss and musician, DJ Tira, real name Mthokozisi Khathi, has partnered up with businessmen and information technology specialists, Thulani Ngwenya and Aubrey Modise, to launch YouDeh – a new app that will afford fans the opportunity to directly connect with a celebrity by paying for their time through private meeting requests.
Speaking to TRUELOVE, DJ Tira said that he viewed the app as a business opportunity.
“For me, this is a business app. It’s an app where we’ll get to address more serious stuff. There’s currently a lot of social media apps out there and a lot of things happen on there but very little business happens,” he began explaining.
“So, now we’re filtering it to say that if a person is willing to pay R150 to spend 5 minutes with me on the app then it means that they are serious about engaging with me, which makes it easier for me to respond and give it a chance,” he continued.
In the times of the COVID-19 pandemic where artists have had to think of creative means of making an income since gigs are restricted, DJ Tira says that this app will benefit artists financially. However, he insists that fans could also benefit from the interaction.
“The celebrity who will be hosting the private meeting will get to have their time paid for, but hopefully after your 5-minute-long meeting with the celebrity, something will come out of that conversation that will be of value to you and give you value for the money you have paid,” he said.
“For example, a person could pay for my time and ask me to rate their singing and if I really like it, I can send them my contact details or take theirs and we start working together. But if it’s nothing that excites me, then I’ll have to be honest with the person and not sell them dreams."
DJ Tira also explained that his favourite feature on the app is that the celebrities that sign up can determine how much their time is worth and can raise the rate should the demand be high.
On where he’d like to see the app’s growth in the next 5-10 years, DJ Tira said that “somewhere between Instagram and Twitter.”
- Everyone who signs in and creates an account on the app is considered a celebrity
- Each users contact details are not made visible on the app
- A user can determine how much their time is worth e.g 5 minutes is $10 (R139) and 10 minutes is $20 (R278)
- When a user wants to have a private video call with another user (a celeb), they send out a party request invite which is like a meeting request.
- The user who sends out an invite would see how much the celeb is charging for a certain time, they pick a particular time and then pay the amount through their wallets on the app. The wallet can be topped up via a PayPal amount or via a credit/debit card.
- The celeb can decide whether to accept or reject the request (if they reject, the money will be returned to the user’s wallet)
- After the call, the funds are paid directly into the celeb’s account within 24 hours. The celeb can withdraw the funds or use them to pay for another user’s time on the app.