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As the music streaming landscape consolidates in more developed markets, an increasing number of players are casting their eyes toward the African continent. The latest of these is Millicom, an international telecommunications and media company with a major focus on Africa and Latin America.
This week, the company announced that it would be launching Tigo Music, an unlimited streaming music service, across its African operations. Bundled as part of pre-paid data plans, the service will offer users access to a library of around 30-million songs.
The first country to get Tigo Music will be Ghana, where it will arrive toward the end of this year.
Millicom will hoping that it can repeat some of the successes it’s seen with the service in Latin America. There it has around 600 000 subscribers in place and has emerged as the largest source of digital revenues for the music industry in Colombia.
In order to get the service rolling out, Millicom has formed a partnership with one of Africa’s leading digital music companies, Africori, to fund, acquire and manage music rights through “Africa Music Rights” (AMR) to which Millicom will contribute a significant majority of the initial investment.
AMR will serve the whole continent, where 70% of music consumed is locally-produced, and will invest in rights directly from artists, writers, micro-labels and others. Key areas for growth include South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya as well as Millicom’s six Tigo markets.
Africori contributes to the venture Coolspot, one of South Africa’s leading independent labels. It has a catalogue of over 11,000 songs spanning 25 years and includes more than 70 gold and platinum releases from high-profile South African legacy artists such as Oleseng and Sammy Malete.
Millicom’s CEO and President, Hans-Holger Albrecht said, “Africa’s digital music market is taking off fast with online and mobile penetration growing strongly. Tigo Music gives us a first-mover advantage, reinforces our strategic shift from voice to data and extends the digital lifestyle. AMR complements this by exploiting the huge opportunity to serve the rising demand for digital music across the continent. Together they make Millicom a music powerhouse for Africa.”
Africori’s CEO, Yoel Kenan meanwhile said, “With the sheer wealth of music emerging from Africa, supported by the timely market growth of digital sales, right now Africa is undeniably the most exciting region for the music business globally. We’re excited to be partnering with Millicom, a company which shares our passion and vision for the region, as we continue to shape the music business in Africa”