MTN Group, Africa’s largest telecoms company and the world’s 15th largest, is bigger than Spotify and Apple in streaming music to consumer in the continent’s most populous nation with a fast growing entertainment sector.
According to Bloomberg, Nigeira’s music industry has more than tripled its sales over the last five years to $150 million annually as mobile downloads surge despite rampant piracy.
MTN, which has 63 subscribers in the west African nation of more that 170 million people, is the biggest music distributor through its ring-back tones, popularly known as “caller tunes”, launched in 2008.
Richard Iweanoge, MTN Nigeria’s general manager for consumer marketing, estimates that about two-third of the mobile operator’s subscribers use caller tunes because it is cheap and accessible.
At just 50 naira or $0.25 per song, MTN’s caller tunes have grown at 25 percent each year since it was introduced.
MTN sells songs by popular Nigerian artistes like Dbanj, 2Face, Davido, Don Jazzy among popular artistes.
“Our consumers can’t get enough of it; you only need to give them a way to get the music,” 35-year-old D’banj, who said he made about $200,000 in the last 18 months from MTN’s caller tunes downloads, told Bloomberg in an interview.
“The telecommunications companies are bridging the gap and they’re raking in billions and billions of naira every year, just from content,” he added.
Nigeria’s music industry is so big that it has attracted the attention of American top rap artist Jay-Z, who said in his twitter account that his cousin moved to Nigeria to market his Tidal music-streaming business “a global company”.
MTN caller tunes has over 12,000 songs available to its subscribers and has also developed a music app — MTN Music Plus — that enables andriod users to help them search and download their favorite songs.