Africa-focused music download service Mdundo Raises $6.4million from IPO

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Mdundo, the Kenyan-based music downloading startup owned by a Denish national, has raised $6.4million from its IPO — oversubscribed by about 111 per cent.

As part of its plan to scale across the continent, the music startup has listed publicly on Nasdaq First North Growth Market in Denmark. It’s no coincidence since the startup is owned by a Danish international.

Mdundo’s main markets include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana. But its also available in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Rwanda, Cameroon, Congo, Malawi, South Africa and Namibia.

Since the launch in 2013, Mdundo now boasts over 5 million active users, up 173 per cent from June 2019.

Mdundo’s primary purpose is to provide African users with a legal way to download music, and in the process, help local artists make money from the same through ad-revenue.

“Our starting point in search of the solution was to provide a good alternative that’s completely better than the illegal services out there,” Martin Nielsen told Quartz Africa.

With 80,000 African artists and a library of 1.5 million songs, Mdundo generated $300,000 in ad sales last year, says Nielsen. The platform makes money by offering up to 10-second long ad space before tracks.

While there are other competing platforms on the continent, like Transsion’s Boomplay, music streaming is hard to pick up with the high cost of internet access in the region. That makes downloading a song once-and-for-all a more viable option for users in the low-income bracket.

“It’s not necessarily about trying to change consumer behaviour—there’s more value in trying to tap into a market that’s already existing but right now not benefiting the creators.”

Last year, Boomplay inked a deal with Warner Music to distribute its wide catalogue of over 1 million songs in Kenya and nine other African countries. As of June, Boomplay had 75 million users in Africa.

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