Apple Music Expands Into 25 African Countries, Takes On China’s Boomplay

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
digital music streaming Chinese companies Apple Music
Apple Music has expanded into 25 African countries as it takes on China’s Boomplay, the largest music streaming service in Africa. The digital music market in Africa is attracting global and local companies. Photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash

In its biggest geographical expansion since 2012, Apple has launched its music audio streaming service in 25 additional African countries. 

The expansion in streaming means that Apple Music is now available in 39 of Africa’s 54 countries.

Eight of the 25 countries — Cameroon, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Libya, Morocco, Rwanda, and Zambia — now have access to the company’s App Store and Apple Podcasts services, according to an Apple blog post.

The App Store — Apple’s mobile application marketplace — is a major source of revenue for Apple, which keeps 15-to-30 percent of its sales on the platform.

This will be Apple’s largest expansion since 2012 when it launched iTunes in India, Russia and more than 50 other countries.

Apple’s main competitor in Africa is Boomplay. Chinese music streaming company Transsnet, through its Boomplay mobile app, has become the largest streaming music service in Africa with an estimated 50 percent of the market.

Consumers globally have slowed in upgrading their smartphones due to high device prices, mature markets, advancements in technology that extend the phone’s life cycle, and a movement away from phone contracts, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

“Apple is selling a long device life cycle as one of its differentiators and justification for its premium pricing,” said Gerrit Schneemann, an analyst at research firm IHS Markit.

Apple has focused on growing its sales of music streaming and app services, which totaled 17.8 percent — $46.3 billion — in revenue in its last fiscal year, IOL reported.

Apple’s top streaming rival globally, Spotify, operates in 79 countries but only five are in Africa: South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt.    

Boomplay has around 53 million users in Africa with a catalog of around 5 million videos and songs for users to choose from.

Transsnet Group is a joint venture between Chinese internet firm NetEase Group and mobile phone manufacturer Transsion, one of Africa’s most popular phone-makers.

The Boomplay app comes preloaded on the phones Transsion sells in Africa, accounting for Boomplay’s 2 million new users each month, according to Techcrunch.

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As part of Apple’s push into the African market, the company asked top African artists to curate playlists of their favorite African songs that users can access.

Artists who created playlists included Grammy Award winner Angelique Kidjo, Afrobeats superstar Davido, Jazz icon Abdullah Ibrahim and Afro-pop group Sauti Sol, according to IOL.

Apple Music audio streaming will be available in these African countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Zambia.

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