Cap Verdean music industry veteran Elodie Dasilva, CEO of music label LusAfrica and DRC's Djo Moupondo of La Clique Musique have come together to launch a low-cost music streaming platform. Russell Southwood spoke to La Clique Musique's Djo Moupondo about how it will work and the scale of their ambitions.
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When I last spoke to Djo Moupondo in 2015 he was working with a local DRC music streaming platform:"Previously we were working with another platform but we had differences on the vision and we went our separate ways".
It has found itself a music industry partner in Cape Verde to launch a new music streaming service called MUSKA. The launch has just happened in Cape Verde and it is being introduced as a pay-for platform from day one with the monetization and billing being done through Angolan telco operator Unitel which has an operation there. Payment is by mobile credits. The app is available both for Android and iOS phones.
It will soon launch in several other Africa countries including DRC, Angola, Mozambique and Uganda:"We want to be in at least 5 countries in Africa before the end of the year". Among MUSKA's longer-term plans are offering live-streamed music concerts and music video content.
"The aim is that it works well with the telcos so that we can offer a premium platform to their subscribers. It needs to be the best offer for the users and reasonable for us, the telcos and the content providers".
Depending on the country and what offers are already in the market, it will adapt the music offered on platform for the territory. For Cape Verde it has signed with Sony's digital distributor, The Orchard and several of the best big local labels in Cape Verde so it will provide both local and international content. Its partner LusAfrica is a well-known label in Lusophone territories and home of late Cap Verdean legend Cesaria Evora.
"The catalogue we're offering in Cape Verde, which will be similar to what we will offer across Africa, will be 10 million songs. We're working directly with the majors, independents, local labels and distributors. For Cape Verde, 70% of the content is Portuguese and the rest is international. The Portuguese content will draw people in and then they will discover the international content. We're bringing both on one application. Some of the music platforms - like Spotify and Deezer - don't have that much local content so won't work well in Africa".
Pricing will differ from country to country. In Cape Verde, it's costing 500 escudos which is 4.53 euros. In DRC, it is still negotiating the price but it's likely to be slightly less than 5 euros:"There's a minimum we won't go beyond, somewhere between 2.50-5 euros depending on the territory. We might be able to go over 5 euros in North Africa but not in Sub-Saharan Africa".
"On the telco deal, we can't accept less than 50% given what we're bringing in content terms and although the exact deal depends on the telco, we will be getting over 50%".
MUSKA is owned by two key shareholders: Elodie Dasilva, is CEO of LusAfrica Group, who is also programmer of the Kriol Jazz Festival and Director of International Relations of the Atlantic Music Expo, a yearly Music Market in Praia , Cape Verde. She is also the CEO of MUSKA.
La Clique Music describes itself as a fully integrated entertainment company with offices in Europe and Africa. The company is directly involved the sale of over 5 million songs, a number reaching top 5 &10 chart positions in America, Asia, African, and Europe, in collaboration with top Grammy awarded and MTV awarded artists, songwriters and producers. La Clique Music and LusAfrica own 35% each of the company:"Everything is self-financed. There's no big financier."
Other shareholders include Cap Verdean app developer and software company Bonako and locally owned innovation promoter Hiaba Enterprises.
"In 5-10 years time, we'd like to try and become the biggest African music streaming application. Obviously, there are hundreds of apps trying to do the same and it will depend on the networks, finance and strategy".
"In three years time, I believe we will have 1 million subscribers. I hope it will happen earlier but Africa is a tough continent. The potential is there. For example on DRC, there are around 2 million people using the Internet, largely on smartphones. Those are the people we are targeting directly. There is rapid growth in smartphones and there will be 1 million more by next year. If we can reach these people, we will get to one million".
From the archive (2015): Djo Moupondo, La Clique Music on launching diaspora Congolese artist Mohombi in Africa