With vibrant music being part of everyday life in Africa, a new Nigerian start-up is aiming to corner the mobile music market in the West African nation. MyMusic.com.ng, a place where users can download their favourite Nigerian songs from the web or on their mobile, is currently in private beta – but users can sign up in the meantime.
“We have no single source of aggregated Nigerian music of African origin. So Africa is missing on the world map in terms of musical content – so the potential is huge,” said Tola Ogunsola, chief executive and co-founder of MyMusic, in an interview with CNN.
Co-founder Damola Taiwo explains that since Nigeria is largely based on a cash-only society, they had to develop a form of payment that is easily accessible and understood by the market.
“When users click the pay by mobile button, the download is automatically initiated on their mobile phones and the fee is deducted from their mobile credit,” explains Taiwo, who also serves as MyMusic’s Chief Operating Officer.
While many music streaming and download services are web-based, Taiwo added that shifting to a mobile model was really important, as Nigeria is home to one of the largest mobile communities in Africa.
“Mobile holds the biggest potential for us. The majority of these users have their mobile phones as their only connection to the internet and any form of technology,” he added to the CNN interview.
MyMusic has an impressive collection of songs, but the co-founder was quick to add that a lot more work lies ahead for the start-up.
“What happens with most of these international sites is that they have a structured system where they can just go meet a record label and automatically get about maybe 100,000 songs, or as much as possible – but in Nigeria, the structure is still growing. The goal now is to have a wide variety. So from the up-and-coming artists to music of like 20 years ago or 30 years ago.”
As with most African nations, bandwidth is always an issue, and Taiwo said that they have taken that into consideration by building “very lean sites” for users. “Within two clicks you can download a song, so we’re trying to overcome that challenge,” he added.
While only being a start-up for now, the company definitely has plans to expand.
“We’re looking to having a pan-African approach to this as time goes by because what we’re actually solving is an African problem. A lot of Africans do not have access to formal banking methods – we don’t have a lot of credit cards in Africa so we’re looking to deploy it across Africa. It’s a big vision for us and we’re going to push it through,” he concluded.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor