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Boomplay vs. Playfre: Who will be Nigeria’s Spotify?

Playfre is a new online music streaming platform offering Nigeria a ‘free Spotify’ with over 45 million free songs, but it has Boomplay to contend the market with.

There has been a recent mad rush for online music streaming since it accounted for 38% of global recorded music revenues in 2017.

MTN’s newly acquired Simfy is set to enter the Nigerian market soon and add to the competition.

Spotify, is the undisputed world champion, but just like all championships you don’t actually beat everyone in each country to earn the crown. In the same vein, Spotify is not present in every country, more especially in Africa. This scanty presence has created an opportunity for others.

Nigeria is one of many African countries where Spotify isn’t present. This has given Boomplay a chance to boom, but new competition comes in the form of Playfre, a new free online music streaming platform founded by Nigerian programmer Chika Nwaogu.

But in the beginning was the “Alaba Boys”

Back in the day “Alaba Boys” as we called them only needed to hear it once and your entire album would be on sale in CD’s in Lagos traffic the following evening. That has changed much over the past decade however. With the growth of mobile phones, more digital means to get your favorite songs emerged.

The era of downloads followed next. But most music download platforms were free and that meant that artistes still weren’t getting enough royalties for their work. As soon as a song was available for download on a platform (however they got it), it would soon be on everyone’s phones. Streaming online was one way to both protect artistes’ content and help them earn more money.

Why the mad rush now for online music streaming?

Apparently there’s a mad rush for the streaming industry, and it doesn’t come as a surprise as more and more African artistes continue to take their sounds beyond Africa, with massive acceptance too.

Also, in 2017 for the first time since 1980s when revenues began to be generated from CD’s, global music streaming revenues surpassed income from the sale of traditional formats like CD’s. Streaming accounted for 38% of global recorded music revenues.

Playfre is offering a free Spotify

Since launching in Nigeria in 2015 by TECNO Mobile, Boomplay has expanded to Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania raking up about 44 million users. Playfre makes quite a grand entrance claiming to have over 45 million songs free to Nigerians to stream. And even more, it promises the same Spotify experience. For that claim alone you would just want to check it out to see if it nailed it or not.

Boomplay has a Universal Music Group (UMG) advantage

Back in November 2018, Universal Music Group (UMG) licensed Boomplay, which meant that users would now be able to access UMG’s extensive catalog of both local and global recording artists including Eminem, Tekno, Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, Lady Zamar, Lil Wayne, Bob Marley, Brenda Fassie, Wurld, J.Cole, Dr. Tumi, Nasty C, 6lack, Diana Ross, Hugh Masekela, Jon Bellion, Larry Gaaga, Tamia, Maroon 5, Aka & Anatii, TJAN, Jah Prayzah, Nonso Bassey, Mafikizolo, Cina Soul, Ella Mai,and Mr. Eazi.

Warner Music Group also took a dive in in March 2019, striking a licensing deal that gave Boomplay distribution rights to Warner Music’s extensive catalogue of more than one million songs to its community of listeners in ten countries; Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

We know how massive funding is these days, and that’s a tick as well for Boomplay having successfully completed a series A funding of $20 million USD led by Maison Capital and followed by Seas Capital and other strategic investors in March.

But Boomplay isn’t the only competition

For Playfre, Boomplay might be arch-competition, but another strong competition could be on its way soon in the guise of Simfy, a South African music streaming company acquired by MTN in November 2018 after it became clear that MTN MusicPlus’ module was restrictive and couldn’t compete. Simfy currently operates only in South Africa, but MTN has plans of expanding it to more African countries and the Middle East.

Leadership is first among equals. It goes with humility.~Tony ElumeluTweet
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