LAGOS, Nigeria — Boomplay Music, a leading music streaming and download service in Africa, has raised $20 million in Series A funding to continue its rapid expansion on the continent, the company announced Friday (April 5).
The streaming platform, which operates the Boom Player app, is adding an average of 2 million new subscribers per month and now boasts 44 million app downloads and 5.6 million daily users. It hosts the most extensive online African music catalog in the world with 5 million tracks, according to the company.
Boomplay launched in Nigeria in 2015 and is owned by Transsnet Music Limited, a China-based company. Users can stream songs and videos online for free or sign up for one of the platform's subscription plans, which are available globally with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.
Joe He, Boomplay's CEO, tells Billboard the company plans to use the funds to focus on content acquisition, recruitment and product optimization, as Boomplay moves into production, recording artists and the live concert space.
"Our vision is to become not only a music streaming service, but we aim to be the number one player in the whole music ecosystem for African music," says He.
Maison Capital led the funding round, which included participation from Seas Capital.
News of the funding round comes two weeks after Boomplay signed a multi-year direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group. The deal made more than 1 million WMG songs available to Boomplay users in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Last November, Boomplay inked its first partnership with a global music company when it secured a major licensing deal with Universal Music Group for Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. UMG's catalog includes African artists, as well as global recording artists including Post Malone, Eminem and Nicki Minaj.
With the growth of streaming services set to slow in mature Western markets this year, major platforms are now targeting Africa. Last November, Spotify launched in North Africa. Paris-based Deezer is already available in most African countries, and Apple Music is accessible in few African countries as well.
"The African music industry is not like in America or Europe where there is one big label who takes care of thousands of artists," says Phil Choi, Boomplay's head of international acquisitions and partnerships. "At the moment, there are a lot of musicians that work independently or with small labels, so it takes time to build a catalog."
The market is drawing global interest, notably because of its growing population. More than half of the world's population growth will be in Africa by 2050, according to the United Nations. Of the 1.2 billion people on the continent, more than 60 percent are under 25 years old.
"Five years ago, no one was talking about this region," says Choi. "Our team saw the potential at this time and now we have a good advantage. But everyone wants a piece of the pie."