How Tecno’s Boomplay Won Africa’s Music Streaming, Outclassing Apple and Spotify

How Tecno’s Boomplay Won Africa’s Music Streaming, Outclassing Apple and Spotify

China’s Boomplay is the largest music streaming brand in Africa today. It is succeeding where iROKING (iROKOtv music streaming unit) and Spinlet struggled. This company is indirectly controlled by Transsion holdings, the markers of Tecno and Infinix mobile device brands. By bundling Boomplay in their devices, the brand gets straight to the end-users. It is doing very well; Apple and Spotify are not close. Today, across the continent, Boomplay commands about 46 million users and 5 million contents in its catalog.

When Chinese music streaming company Transsnet wanted to break into the lucrative African market, they partnered with parent company, Transsion holdings, the makers of popular phone brands such as Infinix and TECNO to pre-install their Boomplay app on their handsets.

By leveraging the popularity of these phones among African users, the company was able to market Boomplay directly to the consumer.

The app was officially released with the launch of TECNO’s first music phone Boom J7 in 2015.


Boomplay is forging ahead with its plans to dominate the music streaming business in Africa, after it raised $20 million in funding in April.

In Nigeria, specifically, as of May last year, here are the leading music streaming companies.

Boomplay (Android – 5 Million+ Installs)*

MTN Music+ (Android – 100,000+ Installs)

Spinlet (Android – 100,000 Installs)

iROKING (Android – 50,000+ Installs)

MyMusic.Com.NG ( Android – 50,000+ Installs)

LasGidi Tunes ( Android – 5,000+ Installs)

The Boomplay Strategy

Transsion Holdings is running a double play strategy here: it is selling us mobile devices and by the side it is building a great new business – entertainment startup. Provided more people continue to use its devices, it could simply emerge as the undisputed leader in African music streaming sector. With this model, Spotify has no chance and Apple with its fashionista pricing of its devices will not match the makers of Tecno.

explained in the duality element that digital products which thrive are typically both products and platforms. It would be hopeless to build modern digital products without having a moat through platforms. Interestingly, the greatest digital ICT utilities have double plays in their business models: if Amazon decimates many brick-and-mortar stores, it would welcome many online to sell them cloud services. Alibaba welcomes you to its marketplace platforms, and you certainly have signed up for its (partly affiliated) payment processing solutions (Alipay) which command commissions.


This double play is going to offer asymmetric advantages to owners of hardware platforms. It was based on it that I proposed for iROKOtv to sell to Transsion Holdings (makers of Tecno phones) in 2017. In that piece, I should have been more specific to note that iROKING should be the entity that should be unbundled and sold. iROKING had since folded as a company. Music wins on hardware – and the very reason I believe that over time Apple will decimate Spotify if and only if Apple hardware products become largely more affordable. The maker of Tecno has full control in Africa not just in music but other areas where mobile devices are the core entry points to the ecosystems.

We propose for Tecno to buy iROKOtv and use the product to deepen its capabilities in Africa and beyond. Our core idea is that Tecno needs to open a unit to be dubbed Tecno TV. It will be one place for anyone in Africa to access television, delivering unified TV experience. This ecosystem will meet the needs for TV shows, movies and broadcasting contents, across the continent. It will be TV and movie content-ready. Through the iROKOtv brand, it will close partnerships with leading local content providers.

Tecno Mobile Should Buy iROKOtv

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Comment #1

China’s boomplay owners have clearly shown us the importance of foresight- preinstalling it app on Transsion holding product.

The company clearly understand that majority of the mobile phone users want a close-range Premium product ( $92- $151) and with 47.47 percent android device usage in Africa compared to apple 6.17percent usage of Apple music the company have an upper hand in market dominance.

There is a lot to learn from this first you need large maker dominance to strive-being a category king..

Second when you dominate the market space ensure that the market revolve around you.
Know what double strategy you need so just like boomplay & Transsion you would be on win win, Market preference regardless.

We hope irokoTv team are reading so they can make there product pre-installed just as boom play.

Comment #2

Well, our market here is far from maturity, and we do not seem to have certain laws in place yet.

If we allow hardware manufacturers to bundle their own app, giving them an unfair advantage from the beginning; we need to equally ensure that other players who rely on their hardware are not distorted unfairly.

Everything boils down to quality and experience on offer, Microsoft bundled Windows with IE, but you rarely see Windows users accessing the web via IE.

When our market matures, we should be able to draw a line between what comes with what and where true customer experience lies. For now, most people’s bank accounts thwart their ability to make informed choices.


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