Universal Music Group pushes into Africa

Universal Music Group has struck a licensing deal to push into Africa, as the world’s largest music company searches the globe to tap into riches from digital streaming. Through the agreement, UMG — home to acts including Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar and Elton John — will license its catalogue to Boomplay, a fast-growing African music streaming service, as well as trying to build a stronger global audience for African acts. The move came as owner Vivendi is looking to sell up to half of the shares of Universal Music, which analysts said was worth more than $40 billion thanks to a nascent recovery in the music business… Boomplay’s service currently offers 2 million songs, spanning genres like Afrobeat, Afropop and hip-hop. As distribution has evolved from CDs followed by digital downloads, industry executives said regions latching on to smartphones and previously ravaged by music piracy were ripe for streaming… Across sub-Saharan Africa, 60 per cent of the population is under 25 years old… Boomplay is owned by Transsion Holdings, a Chinese manufacturer that overtook Samsung this year to become the number one smartphone company by sales in Africa.

Anna Nicolaou