Kenya’s leading telecommunication company Safaricom has launched a new music streaming service, Songa by Safaricom. The service works by users installing the Songa mobile app, and to have access to the over two million songs – both local and intentional content – the user will have to choose between different packages of daily access at Ksh. 25 ($0.25), weekly at Ksh 150 ($1.5) and a monthly at Ksh 499 ($5).
Safaricom as a brand has made a name in delivery top notch products. Be it mobile data internet connection, TV-box with an internet connection and just about every other service the company rolls out is top notch. However, there is always a competition, which though might not necessarily deliver the top-notch grade products, it is still much more affordable than the Safaricom product.
Such is the case with Songa by Safaricom. Kenyan users now have a choice between the free streaming services like YouTube, Mdundo, Jango, and Songa by Safaricom. Note you will only need mobile data to stream music from YouTube, Mdundo, and the international service Jango. While with Songa, you will need both mobile data subscription (if free Wi-Fi is not a choice) and an additional subscription fee to stream the music.
Sure, Songa appeals better because of the fact it has plenty of local content, but so do Mdundo, and with a little effort on your part, you can get local content from YouTube as well. Speaking of local content, Mdundo markets itself as your one-stop-shop for all African music, and currently the service is free of charge. Then remember that last November, Mdundo entered into a partnership that will see it distribute Warner Music content to its over two million active users monthly.
Just comparing Songa and Mdundo side-by-side, the Kenyan user might be inclined to use the latter as it is not just free of charge, but also has a wider choice in terms of music; both Kenyan, African in general and international. Though industry experts are not of the opinion that the premium fee to access Songa will affect its growth in the market.
Folks at iHub for one, don’t think payment will be much of an issue for the listeners, especially since the fee will be automatically deducted from the user’s airtime. Thus there will be no payment friction as compared to other international services, which require the user to load up their credit card.
“The biggest advantage they have with Songa app is payments since Kenyans have still gotten local content from other apps like Deezer, which offer you free tunes but has limitations, as you can’t download an album unless you pay up and have to use banking solutions to transact,” said Michael Wambua from iHub marketing during an interview with ITWeb Africa.
His counterpart, Kennedy Kirui, the iHub Software Consulting Director added: “Safaricom getting into music streaming business is definitely an interesting move. They have the capacity to pull it off. From my perspective, the biggest challenge will be how they will create the infrastructure to deliver a smooth service to mimic giants like Spotify.”