In a welcome development a Senegalese company has scored a first, creating the continent’s first platform for legal music downloads.
The music industry across various African countries has been grappling with various challenges, chief among them piracy. However, the new service could be a game changer for artists struggling with sales and piracy.
The service was launched in Senegal, “with a mission to promote African artists, pay them properly and fight internet piracy,” the Guardian reports.
The music download service is accessed from the website called MusikBi, and almost 200 artists have signed up including acclaimed greats, Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal among others.
According the Guardian, the project developer Moustapha Diop said the platform got its name from the word for music in Wolof, the language widely spoken in Senegal and Gambia.
The songs will cost between U.S. $0.50-0.85 c and downloads can be made through PayPal or mobile phone, where users can download songs using mobile phone credit.
Citing a source within the company, Solid group, which runs the service, the Guardian says artists will receive 60 percent of their income from the service, while MusikBi would take the remaining 40 percent.
It is common knowledge that in various African countries music pirates have been thriving at the expense of struggling musicians and producers.
However, artists have had to think outside conventional models and have resorted to new methods to protect their music, market and sell their music.
In Zimbabwe for example, there are various cases where artists have taken to social media platforms to market and sell their products. The artists encourage consumers to use mobile money transfer services, thereby cutting out the middleman.
Under this new model, consumers can buy songs directly from the artists and then receive the music on their mobile devices through mobile messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.