Senegal launches local music download service

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MusikBi, which markets itself as the first legal platform for the sale of music in Africa, allows customers to purchase songs by sending an SMS with the code of the chosen song. An account is automatically created and users receive a download link via SMS.

The developers say MusikBi – which means “music” in the Wolof language widely spoken in Senegal and neighboring Gambia – was created with the aim of promoting local artists, helping them get paid properly for their work, and protecting them. widespread piracy.

“The idea came about because there was a great need on the part of artists for a way to show their music,” says Moustapha Diop, CEO of Solid, the Dakar-based IT company that launched the service.

“I am also a musician and I was sensitive to this question. Artists cannot really enjoy their albums because of piracy and the lack of a good distribution network,” he adds.

50 cents per song

Each song costs between 300 and 500 CFA (approximately $ 0.50 and $ 0.80) depending on the artist. The amount is deducted from customers’ airtime credit as is the case with many other services across the continent, thereby bypassing the problem of low bank penetration.

“Other solutions that we have seen before depended on bank payments, via visa or MasterCard, but in Senegal, most people do not have a bank account,” says Diop. “However, everyone has a cell phone and it’s easy to buy music with it, that was the special feature of our solution,” he adds. Payment is also possible via PayPal.

The income is divided between the artists, MusikBi, and the telephone operator, which pockets between 30 and 70% of the amount.

“It’s a lot, and artists think it’s too much, but it’s still better than the alternatives that were available before,” says Diop.

A growing appetite for digital music

The African music scene has recently started to gain the attention of global giants. This week, Sony Music Entertainment announcement it opened an office in Lagos as part of a broader strategy to expand its presence across the continent. The Nigeria office is designed to serve as a hub for all operations in West Africa, and Sony says it is also registering to do business in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, which will anchor its operations in Africa. from the east.

MusikBi was officially launched on Wednesday, but has been up and running and growing steadily since mid-November, racking up over 1,000 downloads to date.

So far, it lists around 600 songs from a diverse group of artists, including internationally renowned musicians like Coumba Gawlo Seck and Duggy Tee, one of Africa’s most famous hip hop stars.

The platform was entirely developed by the company Diop, which allows it to personalize its service according to the customer’s response.

The artists receive real-time reports each time their song has been downloaded: “If someone buys a song, the musicians see their income on our platform at the same time as the sale is made,” explains Diop.

The entrepreneur says that after a successful experience in Senegal, his company plans to introduce the service in Côte d’Ivoire in the coming months, with Mali next.


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