Under the deal, UMG content will now be available via Boomplay in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, DRC, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea- Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Sao Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tchad, Togo and Zimbabwe.
Markets covered under the 2018 agreement were Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
“Since our original deal with UMG, the African music industry has seen exponential growth and made huge strides towards being the next powerhouse that it should be,” said Boomplay director of content & strategy Phil Choi. “We’re excited to continue partnering with the UMG team to help promote their African and international artists by bringing their catalogue to even more regions across Africa.”
The deal comes amid an increasing scramble by global streaming services to capture the ears of African listeners. These include major players like Spotify and Apple Music as well as France's Deezer, which is popular in the French-speaking countries of West Africa. Though streaming is still in its nascent stages on the continent of 1.3 billion people, Boomplay CEO Joe He previously told Billboard he believes the service has a potential reach of 350 million listeners there.
Last month, Spotify announced it would be significantly expanding its reach on the continent, adding markets including Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya. Apple Music also broadened its reach in Africa last April, adding 25 additional countries for a total of 37.
Boomplay, the only major streaming service operating in Africa that was actually launched on the continent, has also reported a marked increase in its user base over the past few years while also managing to secure licensing deals with the “big three” Western music companies (UMG, Sony and Warner Music) as well as the independent label digital rights agency Merlin.
Franck Kacou, Universal Music Africa managing director who leads UMG’s activity in French-speaking countries on the continent, noted the inclusion of 25 French-speaking countries in the new Boomplay deal. “Africa is rich with artistic talent and musical culture and continues to inspire millions of Africans for whom music is an essential part of their daily lives,” he said. “Working alongside Boomplay, we will help introduce these talents to new audiences, as the appetite for music continues to grow throughout these countries.”
Added Sipho Dlamini, CEO of Universal Music Group, South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, “We are delighted to expand our relationship with Boomplay, who over the past few years have shown themselves to be dedicated to providing the best in music to fans across the continent. Through this extended agreement, Boomplay will now help supply improved access to the world’s largest and most diverse music catalog to their broad user base, as we continue to introduce the best in African and international music to the rapidly growing streaming audience across Africa.”
According to a release, Boomplay currently boasts over 50 million tracks and 50 million monthly active users (MAUs). In December 2020, the Boomplay app also surpassed 100 million downloads on Google Play.
Launched in Nigeria in 2015, Boomplay is controlled by two China-based companies: streaming service NetEase and Transsion, the largest seller of smartphones in Africa.