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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora