AfricaCom to help define Africa’s digital music ecosystem

Don’t miss out on participating in the development of a lucrative and active digital music bio-network when AfricaCom 2013 launches its Digital Music Africa conference in November 2013. While audiences across Africa are well established and passionate about music – and this includes international artists and local musicians – the business of music on the continent is still in its infancy.

On any given day, thousands of people can be seen walking, driving and working while plugged into their mobile music devices consuming live music or playlists from saved favourite CD tracks. Music is mobile and consumers are choosing how, when and what they consume. They are in control. But, as yet, and despite the business opportunity being huge, there is no clear structure in the market to organise efficient distribution networks, licensing, publishing and revenue sharing.

The high level of music piracy and lack of strong collecting societies may be challenges for Africa’s traditional music markets but the innovation and evolution of its digital market structure is what is making it interesting for many companies (and not the usual suspects either) to play in. Across Africa, music labels are not at the heart of the digital music ecosystem as they are in Western markets. Instead, telecom operators play a major role (and retain a larger part of revenues) in distributing and promoting music to consumers. Some are even taking a lead in digital music by partnering with music brands to deliver targeted value added services to their consumers. Examples of this are Orange partnering with Deezer, an online music streaming, sharing and downloading brand, and Etisalat hooking up with Spinlet in Nigeria.

Additionally, a range of innovative digital music services are regularly being launched by African entrepreneurs and are rocking and shaking up the music market. Brands such as Iroking, Spinlet or Simfy are making a name for themselves by sourcing and distributing music from home-grown artists to local audiences and to the African diaspora, placing themselves as strong contenders for the title of “Africa’s Spotify”.

Digital Music Africa is a new event happening at AfricaCom 2013 that will discuss how the digital music market is and how it should shape up in Africa. It will bring together all stakeholders to share experiences and ideas: local and international labels, telecom operators, content aggregators, digital service providers, distributors, handset manufacturers, app developers and more. “We are excited by the launch of Digital Music Africa alongside AfricaCom” says Julie Rey, Research Director at organisers Informa Telecoms & Media. “Africa’s music market has great potential both for the music industry and for the telecoms sector where content services are a major part of operators’ data strategy”. (AfricaCom is the continent’s single biggest annual ICT, Communications and Technology meeting place).

The programme at Digital Music Africa will include contributions from the biggest brands in the market: MTN, Orange, Deezer, Universal Music, Iroking, Spinlet, Africori, Rolling Stone Magazine and more. During a packed day of presentations, case studies and interactive panel sessions, they will discuss the major issues in the market with a view to building a strong ecosystem, monetising music services, successful partnerships, promotion and more.

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AfricaCom to help define Africa’s digital music ecosystem