According to a CNN report Mdundo, a Kenya-based platform set up in 2013 by Danish expatriate Martin Nielsen, provides access to the continent’s favourite music to more than six million monthly active users.
The service has over 20 million monthly downloads and streams via its website and application. It is available throughout the continent, although until recently it focused mainly on East Africa.
The latest data from the International Confederation of Authors and Composers shows that African members only collected €72 million (US$88 million) in music licensing fees during 2018, less than one percent of global total.
Swedish media streaming service Spotify is available in five African countries and Apple Music recently expanded into more than 30. But CNN Business said paid subscription services were not as popular on the continent as illegal downloads, meaning many local artists were losing out on revenues and royalties.
What sets Mdundo apart is that it focuses on a free model, where users download, rather than stream music by 80,000 artists free of charge. According to CNN, a five to 10 second commercial is played before each track.
This free model appeals to many African users, said Eddie Hatitye, director of Music in Africa.
According to tech news outlet Disrupt Africa, Mdundo in September listed its shares on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market in Denmark following an oversubscribed pre-sale period that raised US$6.4 million, in a bid to solidify its leading position in the pan-African music market.