ALN Member Catherine Lückhoff Breaks Sound Barriers

Catherine Lückhoff is the Founder and CEO of Nichestreem.com, a niche streaming service with big plans for expansion across the continent of Africa. However, Lückhoff cut her teeth in the PR business while still student in university. During her fourth year at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Lückhoff started a PR, communications and strategy business. Through its operations, Lückhoff helped to pioneer online and digitized PR in South Africa, when online marketing was still in its infancy in the country. She landed deals with blue chip companies including Red Bull and DSTV. She went on to help establish Bozza, a mobile platform for talent discovery in Africa, which obtained funding from Hasso Plattner, Google Ventures and Omidyar.

Throughout her career, Lückhoff had a niggling idea about music and the changing ways in which it is consumed. Given the varying preferences of people with regards to their tastes in music, Lückhoff envisioned a niche music streaming platform, catering to established cultures and the music emerging from these communities. Through the platform, musicians would be able to self-publish their work and start earning revenue for their products immediately.

“Music and culture are intrinsically linked,” explained Lückhoff. “You’ll earn fans for life if you speak to niche communities.” This insight shaped the way that Lückhoff launched her niche streaming service. Having worked for multi-national corporations based out of North America and Europe, Lückhoff could see that a globalized generic mass strategy wouldn’t transfer well in the various markets of Africa. “I thought, why don’t we build one back-end, then target [niche communities] accordingly?” Nichestreem.com’s Afrikaans streaming service launches next month, with a Nigerian stream currently in the works.

Nichestreem.com aims to help artists build an ecosystem around their products. For brands, Nichestreem’s ability to bridge the online/offline divide is attractive. “Can I get a spice company to sponsor a cooking playlist for people who love to cook? This playlist could include a discount for the spice, which will then prompt home chefs to head to stores to purchase the product. The disruptive aspect of this is employing old and tested business models on new and cutting edge platforms,” said Lückhoff.

Lückhoff has broken boundaries, not only through her innovative businesses, but also as a woman in business. “Often we have to recognize the filters that we have to penetrate. We have to recognize other people’s preconceived ideas, and tailor the conversation accordingly. There’s a way of meeting people in the space they’re in.” With this pragmatic approach, Lückhoff believes that it’s not such a challenge to be a woman occupying a leading role in the business world.

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