News / Africa

iTunes Africa Launch Promises Change in Music Market

A woman holds up an iPad with the iTunes U app after a news conference introducing a digital textbook service, in New York, January 2012. (file photo)A woman holds up an iPad with the iTunes U app after a news conference introducing a digital textbook service, in New York, January 2012. (file photo)
x
A woman holds up an iPad with the iTunes U app after a news conference introducing a digital textbook service, in New York, January 2012. (file photo)
A woman holds up an iPad with the iTunes U app after a news conference introducing a digital textbook service, in New York, January 2012. (file photo)
This month, Apple announced the launch of their iTunes music store in 56 countries, including 14 on the African continent. The launch means easier purchases for consumers, and a whole new brand of competition for existing music stores.

iTunes is an online store that allows computer users to purchase and download music and videos online. While it offers a new option for consumers in the music marketplace, iTunes is likely going to turn down the volume at Africa's brick-and-mortar music retail stores.

On a typical weekday morning, shoppers flipped through the CD section at the Musica Megastore in Sandton City, an upscale mall north in Johannesburg.

A mother and her daughter left the store after buying a few DVDs. But 17-year-old Sarah said she was an immediate fan of the iTunes launch.

"I started buying music on iTunes now that it opened. I've already bought like five songs. I think I'll start buying most of my music on iTunes, but I think I will still come to stores like this every once in a while if I want the actual CD, like hardcopy," she said.

Her mother, Vivian, was a tougher sell.

"I'm old school, I don't buy anything online. I'm definitely still a hard-copy person," she said.

Such holdouts are one aspect of keeping the brick-and-mortar stores going. But another aspect is diversifying products. While two of the largest music retailers in southern Africa, Look and Listen and Musica, declined to grant interviews, Musica did issue a welcoming statement to the new online retailer. It reads as follows:
 
"The official launch in South Africa sits comfortably with our expansion into entertainment-related products such as headphones, portable speakers, docking stations, etc."

The statement gives an optimistic view of how iTunes will affect music sales. The statement continues:

"In addition, CD sales will increase as they will benefit from additional exposure through iTunes, combined with the continuing demand for the physical format that still exists in this country."

Apple declined to be interviewed, but its entrance into the African marketplace isn't a huge surprise, as other online retailers already have started chipping into the music market here.

"I don't think the effect will be felt immediately, but it will be felt fairly soon," said Arthur Goldstuck, an author specializing in technology, and managing director of World Wide Worx.

"It's not really only iTunes itself that will make that effect felt, but the ongoing barrage of digital weapons, or you could say digital attacks, that are emerging," he said.

While consumers will have more options, there are a few factors that may help brick-and-mortar retailers here. Internet here is generally bought by the megabyte, rather than as an unlimited monthly service. Also, as of 2011, Internet access was below 20 percent in South Africa, and nearly 29 percent in both Nigeria and Kenya, so many customers won't have access to purchase music online.

"That's certainly what's keeping stores going for now," said Goldstuck. "Keeping them alive is the fact that most people don't have that kind of access online. Particularly it you are going to find that's going to change as more and more people realize they can access the music cheaper as well as more easily through these services. That's going to change."

Goldstuck said Apple's move into Nigeria could provide a new outlet for music downloading.

"The music industry hasn't really figured out how to solve the piracy issue in Nigeria. when it gets to Nigeria, I think that could help to change that particular industry," he said. "In most of the African countries it's really just going to bring all this music to the masses for the first time, people who would've never had access to anything like as wide a range of music as they do through the iStore."

In the end, customers like Darryl Bome, of Johannesburg say they're more likely to head online than to the mall.

"What I think a lot of people would do, or what I actually do, is go into a store have a look at a couple of music tracks, a couple of tracks that I want to think about and download, definitely get onto iTunes, purchase those as single tracks without purchasing the entire album and create my own list. So, I think its a great thing, I think its a great, great thing," said Bome.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs