South Africa-based music streaming app My Muze has been downloaded 1 million times since launch in April, taking on the likes of Spotify and Apple Music in the market.
My Muze is owned by local telco Vodacom, which has around 44m customers, and is a subsidiary of global telco giant Vodafone.
Vodacom’s music streaming service is currently only available to download on Android, but can be accessed by users of other mobile operating systems via a browser.
Spotify launched in South Africa in March 2018 and costs R59.99 ($4.30) per month, with Apple Music available there since 2015. YouTube Music launched there in March 2019.
Vodafone-owned Vodacom’s decision to launch its own music streaming service in South Africa is an interesting one.
In the UK, Vodafone has a long running deal in place with Spotify that gives Vodafone’s 4G Red tariff customers the option of having Spotify Premium bundled in. Vodafone has 19.5m customers in the UK.
Telcos have a huge advantage when it comes to participation in the music streaming market.
Firstly, they provide the smartphones and data packages required to use a music streaming service and secondly they have tens of millions of pre existing customers to tap into.
As reported by the Financial Mail, telcos in South Africa are taking advantage of the country’s high mobile phone usage, in addition to their large subscriber bases to launch their own music services.
In South Africa, Vodacom rival MTN, which has around 27m customers, also launched its own music streaming service, MusicTime!, in December 2018. The app has been downloaded around 240,000 times on iOS and Android since then, according to the Financial Mail.
In the Middle East, music streaming service Anghami has forged close relationships with local telcos to secure a dominant position in the region, as explained by co-founder Elie Habib in March.
One of the the biggest global success stories of a music streaming service and telco tie up however is India’s JioSaavn, the result of a $1bn merger which took place in March last year between Reliance Industries-owned JioMusic and decade-old music streaming service Saavn.
JioMusic was a subsidiary of India’s second biggest telco operator Jio, which has played a key role in bringing 4G mobile coverage to India, and boasted over 306m customers at the close of Q1 this year.
Jio is a global rival to the likes of Verizon, T-Mobile and Vodafone. JioSaavn has over 100m Monthly Active Users.
Meanwhile in the US, Verizon customers are being given Apple Music subscriptions as of January this year.
Verizon and/or AT&T have also been mooted as potential buyers of up to 50% in Universal Music Group, not to mention the fact that Sprint owns 33% of TIDAL too.
While My Muze’s 1m downloads is a drop in the ocean compared to Spotify’s 100m paid and 217m active users globally, the speed at which the service has become a top player in the market is surely something Spotify and other streaming services will want to keep an eye on.
Vodafone has 444m customers worldwide and the rapid success of Vodacom’s My Muze service is an interesting litmus test for the potential power that telcos can wield in the global streaming market and wider music industry.Music Business Worldwide