Digital music continues to be a hotbed of discussion around its potential to be a viable long-term business. To be a business, it needs to have the potential for profitability and then to sustain it. But while access to broadband and cheap data rates continues to drive the discussion and restrict the roll out, other self-limiting factors are also influencing the growth of a theoretically lucrative economic sector.
Firstly, the industry needs to decide what it is, who does what and how it can service all stakeholder optimally. Are Network operators now music labels? Are digital music service providers the new record companies of old or are the artists themselves taking charge of their distribution and revenue earnings? Who actually controls the pie and is there enough of it to go around?
All these questions and more will be discussed at AfricaCom 2014’s Digital Music conference taking place in Cape Town from 10 – 13 November 2014.
A key topic discussing ‘The role of mobile music for operators: how to increase data revenues from music?’ is certain to attract debate. Currently, operators are taking as much as 60% of the digital download revenue which is then still to be split between the digital music service and the artist. What’s leftover doesn’t speak to a sustainable business model. Yet, streaming and downloading is a growing phenomenon the world over. Africa, as the hub for digital innovation, has some existing examples of how popular digital has become. In Nigeria, one digital music company has in excess of one million unique registered subscribers including the wider diaspora looking to stay in touch with their roots, however, convincing them to buy regularly and persuading the music artists themselves of the benefits of being part of a formalized sector, remain obstacles to overcome.
With all eyes on Africa as a growing economic powerhouse, and with one the world’s largest and most established digital music offerings, Spotify, on track to enter the market before the end of 2014, is Africa finally getting its groove on?
To find out, register for AfricaCom 2014 or let us have your comments and thoughts as to who you think should ‘control’ the industry and how you see the industry shaping up.