African streaming service Playfre expands to 13 more countries


Playfre is still in its early days for user growth: the African music-streaming service has just over 5,000 registered users, although people don’t have to register to use its app.

Having launched at the start of May 2019, Playfre is now expanding. The company says it will be available in 13 African countries now: Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Liberia, Mauritius, Malawi, Eswatini, and Tunisia.

The company is certainly talking up its ambitions. “We have been developing what will become Africa’s first real answer to Spotify. We at Playfre are trying to bring the over 50 million songs on Spotify to you at no charge, with the same Spotify experience and guess what? We did it,” said CEO Chika Nwaogu.

There’s some important context to this catalogue-size statistic: as its website makes clear, Playfre isn’t licensing 50m tracks from rightsholders. “When someone streams a song on Playfre, he or she is actually streaming a song on Youtube and not exactly on Playfre,” explains the company. “Playfre doesn’t store any song from any artists on its servers, we simply match songs to their corresponding YouTube videos.” That’s a good way to quickly build a streaming service, but will present some challenges down the line when it comes to making money from it.

Stuart Dredge

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