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Nielsen And Frasha: Two Little Known Founders Of Mdundo Who Turned Free Music Streaming Platform Into A Multi-million Business Venture

Martin Nielsen and rapper-cum-politician Francis Amisi, alias Frasha are the founders of music streaming platform, Mdundo.

Founded in 2013, the streaming platform that attracts over 20.3 million listeners monthly has risen to become a multi-million business.

Initially, the company was selling music vouchers but it was later transformed to a free music streaming service platform.

Here is the story as told by WoK.

Model change

Following its transformation, Mdundo has been offering a unique model of free music downloads that are both beneficial to users and musicians.

While users enjoy seamless music streaming and downloads, musicians earn royalties depending on the downloads and streams.

Mdundo has 100,000 musicians with accounts, with Kenyans boasting over 20,000 musicians on the platform.

Despite their success in the African music space, the platform has faced challenges which include piracy and copyright infringement.

To deal with the challenge, the platform allows artistes and deejays to personally upload their music on the platform.

This way, revenue generated from advertisements displayed on the website is shared with the musician.

With display and native advertisements, even when users download music for free, Mdundo still makes money.

Kikuyu gospel and Kamba music is the popular music genre on the platform.

While creating an account, artistes are given access to a dashboard where they can sign up, upload and manage their music.

They can also withdraw royalties directly through their mobile money services.

According to Nielsen, the company is focused on helping advertisers reach audiences that they cannot reach through other channels.

Mdundo’s advertising partnership footprint has grown as the brand collaborates with leading local and global brands across the continent.

They include Standard Chartered Bank, East Africa Breweries Limited, Airtel, Zenith Bank and 10Bet Africa among others.

It also aims at helping budding musicians reach new audiences.

“The mass market doesn’t have many options. Most of the services and apps are focused on the same customers with good smartphones, fast internet, and unlimited Wi-Fi,” Nielsen said.

While it is free in Kenya, Mdundo has a premium service in Ghana, Tanzania, and Nigeria.

The premium service allows users to subscribe to a bundle that has access to free DJ mixes and all genres of music.

Nigeria is the largest market with 20 percent followed by Tanzania (13%), Kenya (11%) and Ghana (8%).

The company is currently aiming at 50 million listeners per month.

In April 2022, the company recorded 31 million active users across Africa in the first quarter, representing a 49% growth compared with the previous quarter.

The Head of Brand Partnerships, Rachel Karanu attributed the growth to the rise in demand for easily accessible music among the youth.

In January 2023, Mdundo recorded 161% increase of revenue during the first half of 2022 ending in December 2022, compared to the same period last financial year. 

The firm’s revenue was over Ksh 115 million with Ksh 60 million of revenue going to rights owners.

The platform also recorded 23.4 million Unique Monthly Users, representing 15% increase since June 2022.