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Will cost downplay Safaricom's music streaming service?

Africa , 14 Feb 2018

Will cost downplay Safaricom's music streaming service?

Safaricom has launched its music streaming service Songa by Safaricom, but will charge for access and speculation already exists as to how the service will compete with free competitor offerings such as YouTube and Mdundo, as well as international services like Jango.

Songa by Safaricom is available via the Songa mobile phone app at a daily rate of (Kshs 25), a weekly rate of (Kshs150) and monthly (Kshs 499) and offers users access to over 2 million songs, a mixture of both local and international content.

Mdundo, which primarily provides African wide choice of music, has been the 'go to place' for music streaming. Currently, the service is free of charge too.

In November last year, Mdundo signed a partnership with Warner Music to distribute its content to the streaming service's 2 million active users every month

Industry experts do not believe the payment will impact Songa.

Michael Wambua from iHub marketing told ITWeb Africa that since the payments can be deducted from airtime credit, there will be no payment friction compared to international services, where users have to input credit card details.

"The biggest advantage they have with the Songa app is payments since Kenyans have still gotten local content from other apps like Deezer which offer you free tunes but has limitations, as you can't download an album unless you pay up and have to use banking solutions to transact," said Wambua.

Kennedy Kirui, iHub Software Consulting Director said, "Safaricom getting into the music streaming business is definitely an interesting move. They have the capacity to pull it off. From my perspective, the biggest challenge will be how they will create the infrastructure to deliver a smooth service to mimic giants like Spotify. Now we wait and see."

Safaricom has engaged the services of Sony Music Entertainment, Africori, Africha, Ngoma and Expedia to generate content and continues to seek out further partnerships.

This is not the first time that Safaricom has engaged Kenya's music scene. The company runs Skiza, the ringback tunes service and has, to date, paid out Kshs 1.4 billion to artists.

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