June 18, 2019
When it Comes to Africa’s Streaming Market, Spotify and Apple Have Been Beat
When Chinese music streaming company Transsnet decided it planned to break into the lucrative African market, they partnered with the parent company, Transsion Holdings, the makers of popular phone brands such as Infinix and TECNO to pre-install their Boomplay app on their handsets.
The promotion of these handsets then directly contributed to the delivery of Boomplay direct to the consumer after it was officially released in 2015 with the launch of TECNO’s first music phone Boom J7.
Boomplay has since become the largest streaming music service in Africa, with 46 million users on the continent and boasts a catalog of five million videos and songs.
At the same time, Spotify and Apple have singularly chased after users in developed markets, leaving Boomplay virtually unchallenged in securing a hefty 50% share of Africa’s phone market; the firm is also the largest provider of handsets on the continent.
Phil Choi, Transsnet’s head of international acquisitions, says Africa’s increased mobile penetration over the past few years is part of why it is Boomplay’s primary market. “There is tremendous potential and growth being witnessed and with the increasing internet infrastructure, we feel there is great opportunity in Africa,” he claims.
The African continent, which is home to 1.2 billion people, currently has the fastest internet growth rates, and the number of data users across the continent is rising by a jaw-dropping 20% year on year. Much of this growth has been attributed to the continent’s youth population, the youngest in the world, and United Nations figures project this number to more than double its 2015 total of 226 million by the year 2055.
Indeed, the rapidly growing youth population is using mobile phones for everything: from shopping to social media to online banking.
Nonetheless, Choi says providing vibrant African music is at the core of Boomplay’s objectives due to the sheer volume of music young African people listen to. Earlier this year, Boomplay signed a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music, allowing it to distribute more than one million songs to its community of listeners in 10 countries including Cameroon, Rwanda, and Zambia.
Meanwhile, Spotify only launched its first service in Africa in March 2018, while Apple Music has a marginally stronger foothold with a presence in 12 African countries, including Tanzania, Nigeria, and Guinea-Bissau. At the same time, both US giants have accessibility barriers in the African market.
“It is hard to access Apple music and Spotify in Africa, but a lot of Africans still do through virtual credit cards and VPN services,” Tech Analyst Victor Ekwealor says.
Even then, Boomplay is plowing ahead with plans to dominate the music streaming business in Africa after raising $20 million in funding in April.
“The funding will be used to fuel our expansion across more Francophone regions as well as other parts of Africa,” said Choi, “Our vision is to be the biggest distributor of African music in the world.”