Mobilising African music: how mobile telecommunications and technology firms are transforming African music sectors
AuthorDe Beukelaer, C; Eisenberg, AJ
Source TitleJournal of African Cultural Studies
PublisherROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
University of Melbourne Author/sDe Beukelaer, Christiaan
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsDe Beukelaer, C. & Eisenberg, A. J. (2020). Mobilising African music: how mobile telecommunications and technology firms are transforming African music sectors. JOURNAL OF AFRICAN CULTURAL STUDIES, 32 (2), pp.195-211. https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2018.1546569.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
This paper explores the role of mobile telecommunication and technology firms (MTTs) in the distribution of recorded music in Ghana and Kenya. These countries both have vibrant music markets with weak formal distribution networks. Limited enforcement of copyright regimes and weak market regulation created new entrepreneurial business models. While ‘big tech’ dominates this space elsewhere, in African contexts the main players are mobile service providers (e.g. MTN, Vodafone, Tigo) and digital content firms (e.g. Liberty Afrika, MTech, Cellulant). These transnational players cater to fast-growing consumer markets that do not have easy access to major music distribution platforms such as iTunes and Spotify (which tend to provide very limited access to ‘local’ content, in any case). Despite their particular and increasingly significant roles, very little empirical attention has been paid to the activities of mobile telecommunication and technology firms (MTTs) in music sectors. This paper takes stock of why and how MTTs have entered into the business of recorded music distribution in Ghana and Kenya, and assesses the ramifications of their entry for the music sectors in these and other African countries as part of broader global shifts in the production, distribution and marketing of recorded music.
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