Monday, April 15, 2019

Music Streaming Services in Kenya

Thanks to the manufacturers' better understanding of the Kenyan market and the rise of internet connectivity in the country, smartphone use is growing. This means that many services that are generally mobile-first are also finding the Kenyan market more attractive. After all, the internet - especially when in your pocket - is the best way to consume all the general and sports entertainment Kenya and the world has to offer. Still, services like Spotify - the biggest mobile music streaming service today - are not present here. Luckily, there are enough alternatives, both local and international. So, let's take a look at some of the music streaming services that are available in Kenya today.

International

One of the major international music streaming services available in Kenya is Deezer, the company founded in Paris, France, 11 years ago. The service had a very limited catalog at first and only allowed downloads through iTunes (paid downloads, that is). Despite running into financial problems at first, Deezer stayed afloat, secured funding, and continued to grow, becoming a service with more than 14 million active users and 7 million paying subscribers in more than 180 countries, including Kenya.

Another major international music streaming service available in Kenya is - surprise - Apple Music. I say "surprise" because Apple Music is a service available on iPhones only, and only about 3% of the smartphone users in Kenya use an iPhone (according to StatCounter). Student ($4.99), individual ($9.99) and family ($14.99) subscriptions are available here, each one giving locals access to more than 50 million international songs.

Local

"Songa by Safaricom" is a music streaming service available to Safaricom prepaid and postpaid subscribers, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment. For KSH 499 a month, its users can listen to its library of local and international songs (daily and weekly subscriptions are also available), plus the cost of downloading the songs on mobile. Songa also offers users the possibility to download the songs they like most and listen to them offline.

"Mdundo" is another Kenyan music streaming service founded by Martin Nielsen, a Dutch businessman who has moved to Kenya in the early 2010s. Mdundo.com was launched in 2013, later signing a deal with Airtel and Microsoft. Later, they signed with Warner Music, adding more than 1 million songs from major international artists to their library of over 150,000 African songs from artists in 37 different African countries. Mdundo has a free tier - ad supported - and a paid tier that costs KSH 199 a month.

Until Spotify - and its massive library of 35 million songs - decide to enter the Kenyan market (so far, it is only available in South Africa), there are quite a few alternatives to choose from, most of them with a free option as well. Which one do you use?

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