Music apps taking African music to every village

You can listen to some of the biggest names in the music industry on Mdundo, a music streaming app that was initially targeted at artistes and audiences across East Africa. A lot of people would agree that Africa’s music scene is now teeming with life as electrifying melodies and animated beats continue to thrill fans in the continent by day and night. But, as the continent’s music scene rapidly gains traction with listeners and artistes rhyming to such harmonious relationship, music streaming apps such as Mdundo, too, have gone with the flow and now want to take music from different parts of this great continent to every African village.

The app has over 70,000 songs listed on its platform, with artistes across 37 African countries uploading their songs for their audiences. Some of the big names such as Sauti Sol, Daddy Owen, Radio and Weasel from East Africa, Victoria Kimani (Kenya and Nigeria), Ice Prince (Nigeria) are among the popular ones that have been listed.

Powered-up by new media and snowballing performances by African musicians in different countries on the continent, Mdundo looks to sign up more musicians especially from West and South Africa to cater to those whose love for musicians from those two regions is at an all-time high. Other Africa-focussed music streaming apps such as Mkito, Mziiki, Simfy Africa and Orin are also taking advantage of the continent’s vibrant music scene by providing their users with equally colourful music that just shows how quickly Africa’s music scene has come of age.

Apart from offering music lovers a collection of their favourite artistes’ songs on their mobile devices, such apps have raised the profiles and visibility of little known musicians or bands that are now able to reach a wider audience in the continent and overseas at little cost. Musicians are also able to monitor downloads of their songs and demand a fair share of revenues made by the platform providers out of subscriptions or advertisements.

With the swelling interest in music from different parts of the continent, fortunes have changed especially for many African artistes. They are now appreciated much more at home. According to Shyqo Koinange, the head of music at Mdundo, more African musicians are equally focused on appealing to audiences on the continent as opposed to going abroad for performances like was the case in the past. Clearly, the fever and enthusiasm for African music has caught on, with the music scene set to brighten even further as the musicians continue to hold many shows in different countries on the continent and getting well compensated.

“Our offices in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and our partners in Nigeria are starting to see more interest from musicians in other African markets than ways of making it out of Africa. We are at the same time experiencing an increase in (music) downloads of songs by musicians outside East Africa,” she says.

The rising internet penetration levels and falling cost of data have made music apps more appealing to users who can now access it on their mobile devices. For those who love the Bongo thrill from Tanzania, gospel artistes, AfroPop, DJ mixes, Naija music, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Taarab, Zilizopendwa, Genge, Rhumba, Kwaito and much more, African music apps are the new rhythms that cut across borders, cultural barriers, languages, religions and regulations.

Photo Credit: Music Africa Awake.

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