Music Streamer Boomplay Looks Globally After Taking the African Market from Spotify
In Africa, Spotify is only available in five out of 54 countries on the continent leaving a gap for a music streaming service in the region. Boomplay, launched in 2015, had achieved 44 million users by April 2019 and raised $20 million in a Series A funding round.
The application was first developed and shipped with phones produced by Hong Kong company Tecno. The company is based out of Lagos but backed by Chinese parent company Transsnet. Ex-Foxconn Founder Joe He says:
“The original thought process was to design an app that would best match the technical specifications of the music-focused Tecno Boom series phones.”
Though many African users attempt to access Spotify via a VPN it’s only officially available in South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. Tech veteran He adds:
“We soon realised there was a real need for an Africa-centric music streaming service that not only provided legal and licensed music for users, but that was transparent and could be responsible for helping artists earn the royalties and revenue they deserve.”
Boomplay was a risk, Africa’s technology market is described as challenging with extensive digital piracy issues and high data costs as well as inconsistent internet access across the region. Founder He explains the company didn’t know what to expect of the African market but that it was “quietly confident.”
It may have helped Boomplay to have been bundled with Tecno phones as well as Infinix and ITel smartphones. The company now plans to invest in the music industry, co-produce content and support artists. It recently revealed it would invest $1 million in the Kenyan music industry and plans to expand its team and operations into different parts of Africa. “There is so much great music, and undiscovered, talented artists in places such as Mali, Congo and Zambia,” adds He.
Now a licensing deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) means that Boomplay is looking internationally for expansion and may well have the grounding to do so. He says the new streaming service is gaining a foothold in Europe and around the world.
The partnership between Boomplay and its first music company partner Universal, emerged in late 2018, and constitutes a “landmark licensing agreement,” for multiple markets in Africa. UMG provides its music catalog to Boomplay and the streaming service users can access an extensive catalog of global musicians including Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Diana Ross, Bob Marley, and many more artists spanning generations of listeners.
UMG is also hoping to support African artists, launching Universal Music Nigeria in 2018 to provide opportunities in the region and to create a “launch-pad” for broader international success.
Boomplay signed a deal with Warner Music Group in March 2019 and now with a third major record company, Sony Music Entertainment. The latest deal gives Boomplay users access to African artists signed to Sony and international artists such as Beyoncé and DJ Khaled.
November reports put Boomplay listeners at 60 million, up from 42 million in February 2019, and growing at around 2 million new active users every month. Premium subscriptions for Boomplay cost the equivalent of around $1.50 per month and it now has a catalog of 10 million songs and videos.