Nigerian music-tech startup Boomkit racks up 10k users as it bids to boost independent African artists

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Nigerian music-tech startup Boomkit, a digital distribution and career management app for independent African artists, has built a user base of 10,000 and has plans for continental expansion.

Launched last year, Boomkit is building an ecosystem where artists can manage, produce, distribute and monetise their music, while maintaining 100 per cent ownership of their crafts.

Artists can purchase beats from music producers across the continent, distribute their music to all digital platforms, receive earned revenue, get access to marketing tools, and track the performance of their entire catalogue with an in-depth career-wide analytics service.

“Royalty collection has always been an issue for African artists, and most African artists end up forfeiting their earnings from music sales. Popular American distribution companies like Tunecore and cdbaby will require an artist to provide a PayPal account before they can process earnings, but unfortunately PayPal is unavailable in most African countries,” Boomkit co-founder Abiola Hamzat told Disrupt Africa.

“We are able to solve the payment problem by paying artists’ earnings directly into their local bank account and in their local currencies. Artists can choose to withdraw their earnings anytime they want and also split payment with their contributors, like producers or featured artists.”

The startup also aims to make financing accessible for independent artists. 

“It is apparent that funding is a big issue faced by indie artists. Currently, traditional record labels are the only source of funding for independent artists in Africa. Funding from a regular bank is also not possible, because banks are not set up to understand what collateral they need to secure their loan against. Hence the need for an institution like Boomkit that is focused on artists and their contents,” said Hamzat.

Boomkit tackles this issue by providing funding to artists on its platform through royalty advances and its SupportME feature. With SupportME, an artist can receive donations from fans directly on their BoomPage, a minimalistic website for Boomkit artists. 

“This creates a new source of revenue for independent artists. With royalty advance, the credit is secured against their projected earnings from music sales,” Hamzat said.

Hamzat is a music executive with over nine years of experience in the African entertainment industry, and knows a thing or two about the size of the opportunity.

“In recent years, African music has grown beyond expectations, African artists are currently selling out stadiums, topping the Billboard charts, and winning the Grammy award in spectacular fashions,” he said.

“As exponential as the growth is, access for independent artists to break into the market remains tough. Independent artists continue to struggle to get their music distributed, career managed, marketed efficiently, get access to their data and most importantly receive their earnings. We surveyed over 300 independent artists and 86 per cent said it is always a conundrum when it comes to what to do next after releasing a new music.”

Fixing these issues has seen the bootstrapped Boomkit gain considerable traction. The platform has over 10,000 users, and has so far distributed over 3,000 songs, including those of artists such as Al Walser, Ill Bliss, Tha Suspect, and Samklef. It currently operates in Nigeria, though it has artists from other African countries like Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda using the app.

“In the nearest future we have plans to expand to South Africa and Ghana,” Hamzat said.

Boomkit currently makes money through three major sources – subscriptions, add-on purchases, and transaction fees. 

“Currently we are doing US$4,000 MRR at about 62 per cent profit margin. We aim to scale beyond US$10,000 MRR as soon as possible,” said Hamzat.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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