Africa’s First Music Download Service Launches in Senegal
Africa’s first homegrown platform for legal music downloads has launched in Senegal with a mission to promote African artists, pay them properly and fight internet piracy.
Internationally famous musicians such as Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal are among almost 200 who have signed agreements with MusikBi, along with younger rappers, jazz artists, and Christian and Muslim vocalists.
The platform draws its name from the word for music in Wolof, the language widely spoken in Senegal, said project developer Moustapha Diop at the launch in Dakar in February 2016.
Songs cost between 300 and 500 West African CFA francs (50 to 85 cents), and users can download them using mobile phone credit in a region where few have bank cards.
“It is the first platform of its kind enabling music downloads by text or PayPal,” said a statement released by Diop’s company, Solid.
Solid noted that many African artists “cannot live comfortably by the proceeds from their work,” adding that the platform offered a chance for “promotion and to allow them to make a living from their art.”
Piracy and changing consumer habits have seen record sales drop across the continent. Illegal downloads tempt African consumers to look online for music while copyright enforcement remains weak.
A source within the Solid group told AFP that after mobile operators took their share, artists kept 60 percent of their income from the service, while MusikBi took the remaining 40 percent.
MusikBi does not offer a streaming service because local Internet speeds make it difficult to use the format, especially in a mobile-driven market.