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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid