View profile

Boomplay backs important documentary on Afrobeats

Boomplay backs important documentary on Afrobeats
By get.Africa Weekly • Issue #63 • View online
A ku ọdun ajinde,
That’s “Happy Easter” in Yoruba
At the 2021 Grammy awards, Afrobeats superstars Wizkid and Burna Boy went home with a couple of coveted gold-plated gramophones. This signalled a coming of age of the local music scene.
But the Grammy moment didn’t happen overnight, it was some 20 years in the making. 
Over the Easter weekend, a documentary chronicling this journey premiered in Lagos cinemas. It’s titled “Afrobeats: The Backstory”. The documentary should be available on streaming platforms in the coming weeks.
With or without an “s”?
Afrobeats has a well-documented documentation problem, for instance, not many even know how the name came about.
The term “Afrobeats” was first coined in the early 2010s by DJ Abrantee, a UK-based DJ of Ghanaian descent. It bears no stylistic similarity to Afrobeat, a music genre that was created in the 1970s by Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti.
Afrobeat is a blend of jazz, funk and high-life, while Afrobeats is an umbrella of different pop sounds with their origins in Nigeria, to a large extent, but Ghana as well.
It would take purists a while to accept the Afrobeats name, that’s because it felt like a desecration of Fela’s legacy. In fact, to this day, Abrantee is sometimes viewed as a pantomime villain.
Although, that didn’t stop the sound from growing.
And as its popularity spreads, stories like this about its true origins need more spaces to be told. 
Thankfully, streaming service Boomplay is helping to provide one. It’s also enabling the culture’s most-respected voices, like director Ayo Shonaiya, to be the ones to tell it.
Watch Shonaiya speak on the documentary here.
Symbiotic relationship
Boomplay was developed by Transsnet, a joint venture between two Chinese companies: 
  1. Transsion, the largest smartphone provider in Africa, and 
  2. NetEase, a gaming and music-streaming company 
It launched in 2015 as a pre-installed music player on Transsion’s phone brands: Tecno, Infinix, Itel, similar to how Apple Music comes on iPhones. 
Read more about Transsion here.
This smartphone-led approach gave Boomplay a significant advantage on two fronts:
  1. Locally, it helped them to pull in front of early entrants into the music streaming space, such as Spinlet, Cloud 9 and MTN Music + which were largely telco-led, while also staying ahead of more recent entrants such as uduX and MTN MusicTime. 
  2. Internationally, Boomplay now has over 75 million users and is reportedly outpacing Spotify and Apple in the race to reach 350 million listeners; that’s if you believe this Billboard article.
Over 86% of those listeners are from sub-Saharan Africa. And that’s the region that Boomplay expects most of its growth to come from. 
But that growth can’t continue to come from selling phones alone. Editorial content like the “Afrobeats: The Backstory” is, therefore, a long-term bet that as Afrobeats continues to grow, so will Boomplay’s user base. 

get.Africa is a weekly roundup of the most interesting stories in African tech. To support, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, share this issue or send us an email. You can also check our archives.
Credit: Sudhith Xavier
Credit: Sudhith Xavier
Message from Our Sponsors
Fieldbase is a value-driven provider of integrated maritime communications, navigation, surveillance sales and support services. Read more.
What's the Big Deal?
Jumia has raised $348.6 million through American Depositary Shares (ADS). The company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes.
+ USh Ugandan startup Tugende has closed $3.6 million in a Series A extension round. The round was led by Partech. Founded in 2012, Tugende uses asset finance, technology and customer support to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
+ $ Airtel has announced a new investor — global payments provider Mastercard — in a deal that will see Airtel Africa receive an additional $100 million for its mobile money business.
Curacel, a Nigerian startup that builds technology to power insurance companies, has raised $450,000 in a pre-seed funding round. The round was led by Atlantica Ventures and Consonance. Curacel bills itself as a leading claims and fraud detection platform.
Nigerian recruitment startup TalentQL has been accepted into the Techstars Toronto accelerator programme, securing US$120,000 in the process as it sets its sights on global expansion.
Bank accounts blocked, phone bugged, Rinu #EndSARS activist speaks about her life and aspirations
NIBSS to unify QR codes for payment in Nigeria with NQR
MTN airtime sales resume as Nigerian govt intervenes in bank feud
China’s DiDi takes on Uber and Bolt in SA’s ride-hailing market
Safaricom, Jamii Telecoms will not block illegal Supersport streams
Charts + Graphs
Credit: GSMA
Credit: GSMA
Half of the world’s mobile money services are in Africa, and over half of that is in East Africa. Read the full report
+ Reads
+ Reminiscing on when 64Kbps internet was enough: The story of South Africa’s first commercial ISP.
+ Hello Nairobi: As Bolt Food goes live in Kenya, what are its chances of success?
+ Apple splash: Apple has expanded its independent repair provider program to several African countries including SA, Nigeria and Kenya.
+ New rules: The countdown to South Africa’s new data laws is on, here’s what to expect.
+ Post-COVID: 54Gene and the prospects of human biotechnology in Nigeria
Watch + Listen
How Bitcoin Made #EndSARS Protests Censorship-Resistant
How Bitcoin Made #EndSARS Protests Censorship-Resistant
On Kuda, Jumia, and YC class of W2021
Overheard on Twitter
Alastair Hendricks
Apple Pay has just gone live in South Africa 🚀 🌍

So far it looks like @Discovery_SA and @Nedbank cards are supported.
I'm writing a book on remote work for African businesses
I'm writing a book on remote work for African businesses
+ Register a .ng domain name for your business today.
+ To make whiteboard animation videos like this for educational or marketing purposes, please send us an email.
Did you enjoy this issue?
get.Africa Weekly

African tech in a language you'll understand. The most important stories contextualized and delivered to your inbox every Monday. Curated by Chiagoziem O.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
get.Africa Media, Nigeria