Boomplay, the largest and fastest-growing music streaming service in Africa, just raised $20 million in Series A funding. This funding round was led by Maison Capital with participation from Seas Capital.

The music streaming service has grown at a face-melting pace since it first launched in Nigeria back in 2015. With the new funding, it’s looking to hit the road on a little expansion tour. This will help the company to keep its global rivals from encroaching in a market it already dominates.

Data Source: Quartz Africa

The company says it will use the funding to fuel its continued expansion across Africa. Plus, this will help it to consolidate its position as the leader in the African market. This expansion, the company says, will focus on content acquisition, product optimization, and recruitment.

This seems like the making of a medieval battle strategy for the 4-year-old company.

A little Boomplay background

Boomplay is owned by Transsion Holdings, the China-based top phone maker in Africa, and NetEase, a Chinese Internet company that has already built a music streaming service in China with 400 million users.

Since 2015, Boomplay has come pre-loaded onto Transsion smartphones ‒ Africa’s best selling smartphone ‒ giving it a real bolster. This strategy has seen it reach 44 million active users. It currently boasts around 35 million users, 17 million of which are active monthly users in Africa.

Until recently, much of Boomplay’s growth has happened without competition from global giants, but that’s soon to change. This year, Spotify and Tidal launched in their first African markets, and Apple Music, while not a huge hit, is already there.

Still, Boomplay has the advantage.

It recently agreed to license deals with Universal Music and Warner Music catalogs to allow users to access the world’s top artists. This, according to the company, is something much harder to attain in the African markets for a company like Spotify.

Boomplay will, however, have to compete with these global services in the long term. This is according to Phil Choi, the company’s head of international content acquisition. Spotify and YouTube Music have already launched services in South Africa.

A market already rooted in Africa

But as Choi maintains, these global services coming to Africa will have to surmount major hurdles, just as Boomplay has.

“In Europe or elsewhere in the world, Spotify or Apple music can sign with Universal and they’ll have access to a lot of their artists. But in Africa, a lot of artists work on their own or with labels that have just one or two artists,” Choi told Quartz.

“So at the moment there isn’t a big label [structure] that represents a lot of artists. So, for Spotify or Apple Music to have the kind of African catalog that we have, they will need to go for a long period of time through discussing agreements with many individual artists,” he continued.

Boomplay currently has four operational teams in Africa, covering the four largest markets in West and East Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania).

“We are extremely grateful to Boomplay’s new and past investors for their continued faith and support which has enabled Boomplay to reach this landmark milestone,” said Boomplay CEO, Joe He.

“Music has no borders, and we’re committed to providing a rich and high-quality music experience for all users – not just in Africa, but around the world. This investment will help us do just that, by fostering cultural interchange and helping people communicate through the universal language of music,” he concluded.

As of February 2019, Boomplay had more than 42 million users and a music catalog of 5 million songs. The Boomplay service is currently available for Android, iOS, and Web. Boomplay, therefore, aims to build Africa’s largest and most reliable digital music ecosystem. This recent funding just might be what Boomplay needs to consolidate its position as a market leader in Africa.

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