Who doesn’t love African music, and want to have it available on demand, via any device? Luckily, there are a host of startups catering to our wishes; making music from almost any African country available to stream or download, or just making the listening experience more interactive and fun. Here, Disrupt Africa showcases five African music-on-demand startups to keep an eye on.
Where else to start but East Africa’s Mdundo? Launched in Kenya in 2012 by seed accelerator 88mph, Mdundo provides a music streaming and download service dedicated to showcasing Africa’s musical talents.
Available via Android app or online, by 2013 Mdundo had expanded to its second country, Tanzania, after earning US$125,000 in follow-on funding. The service continued to grow organically, with artists from around Africa signing up to make their music available on the platform. The platform currently lists music from over 15,000 artists.
The startup now boasts 750,000 active users each month; and is popular with users in Kenya, Tanzania,Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Egypt, Mali, Guinea, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Zambia, Togo, Benin, Burundi, Mozambique, and Ethiopia.
We’re certainly eager to watch what’s next for this African music startup success.
Malawi’s music streaming service Mvelani is next on our list. Launched in 2015, Mvelani lets artists share their music on the platform by creating an account and uploading songs. Users are then able to stream this music.
The startup in particular wants to tackle the lack of control and revenues local artists receive from many established channels of music content consumption.
Earlier this year, Mvelani raised US$57,000 from an angel investor, with the intention of rolling out mobile apps which enable users to stream music offline, and the startup also has plans to expand to Nigeria.
Zimbo Music launched in August 2014, operating a web portal for the sharing, discovering and downloading of music from African artists.
Zimbo Music allows established and upcoming artists to upload their music, bio and pictures as well as promote events, while users can find, purchase, stream and download music.
The startup quickly gained traction, and started making revenues, with the founders – who are also artists themselves – explaining the platform makes money from a number of channels, including adverts, paid downloads, music shows, ticket sales and commission.
The startup has big ambitions to become the foremost platform for music buyers across Southern Africa; and hopes to promote the “overwhelming” local talent which is currently not well-known due to lack of exposure.
The last two startups on our list are real newbies, with a lot of potential.
South Africa’s RadioVybe launched in March this year, with the aim of becoming the universal radio app available on every handset.
The startup combines music with social networking. Members can stream music via the app, as well as discovering, listening to, and interacting with radio stations within and outside their geographical location.
There are a number of social elements to the service. The in-app news feed allows users to see which radio station their friends are listening to; while the interactive features of the app allow members to contribute to live radio shows while listening, by posting messages to the radio station’s page; and they can also connect with artists.
RadioVybe is available online, as well as via Android and iOS.
Mozambican music streaming startup Mozik is set to launch this week; focusing on offering artists the opportunity to earn money from their music content.
Mozik is a spin-out of Maputo-based music publishing and distribution company GMUSIC Lda, which is also a record label, which over the last few years has been investing in young artists.
Founder Guerte Geraldo Bambo says he realised there are big challenges when it comes to artists effectively monetising their music, prompting the launch of Mozik, which aims to facilitate musicians selling their music online.
The mobile streaming service has been well reviewed since its soft-launch to 5,000 users; and a public version with both freemium and premium options is due for launch later this week. So watch this space.