What the emergence of music download services mean for Africa

Recently, MusikBi, a music download application was launched in Senegal. The app is designed to cater to the needs of artistes, helping them gain financially from their work and to reduce, if not eradicate, piracy in all its appearances. The service, which was developed by Moustapha Diop, is available to a plethora of African artistes and already has 188 artistes including Wasis Diop, Youssou N Dour and Still, as well as 42 genres of music registered on it.

Though several Africans claim though that MusikBi is not the first of its kind, the service was created to pay and promote music artistes, just like Jay-Z’s subscription-based music service, Tidal. Artistes registered on the service will no longer have their work downloaded for free on the internet. But unlike Tidal, the app does not offer streaming services due to poor internet access in many African countries.

According to reports, Kasimp3 is just like MusikBi and has been in existence for much longer than the latter. Created by Mokgethwa Mapaya and based primarily in South Africa, the application caters to a diverse range of African artistes. By 2013, Kasimp3 had a 90 percent download rate of local hip-hop, dance, kwaito and gospel music, with just under 50,000 unsigned artists offering their music to fans.

With the emergence of services like MusikBi and Kasimp3, African artistes are now, more than ever, ready to begin making money off their music without resorting to brand ambassadorship or live concert performances only. African artistes can now enjoy the full benefits of their hardwork. For MusikBi, artistes will be entitled to 60 percent profit off the download service, while on Kasimp3, artistes are entitled to royalties for every download of their song, if it’s a hit, all the better for their pockets.

In coming years, digital music will penetrate the continent’s markets due to the fact that local artistes have been making profits off the download of their work digitally. According to a report from Pricewater House Coopers (PwC), as at 2012, Kenya’s music market had generated revenue of about US$19.8 million and by 2015, consumer spending on digital music will be more popular. The same report also states that by 2017, digital share of total spending on recorded music in Nigeria will rise to an estimated 66.6 percent.

Credit - PwC
Credit – PwC

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