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Growing Africa’s Music Streaming Platforms

African music has exploded onto the world stage in recent years, but its streaming platforms lag behind. Spotify (SPOT) is only available in five African countries and while Apple (AAPL) Music recently expanded into more than 30, paid subscription services aren’t as popular on the continent as illegal downloads. That means African artists are missing out on streaming revenue and royalties. According to the International Confederation of Authors and Composers, its African members only collected $88 million in music licensing fees during 2018, less than 1% of its global total. Mdundo, a Kenya-based platform, wants to help change this. Set up in 2013 by Martin Nielsen, a Danish expat, it provides access to the continent’s favorite music to more than 6 million monthly active users. The service is available throughout Africa, though until recently it focused mainly on the East Africa region. Having watched Spotify revolutionize the music industry elsewhere, Nielsen wanted to create an alternative for Africa, which at that point was neglected by the global streaming giants. Mdundo is not the only African music platform. Spinlet and uduX are popular services in Nigeria, as is MusikBi in Senegal and Simfy in South Africa. But the popularity of these local platforms is still dwarfed by international brands.