A new application that enables one to download or stream East African music onto one's mobile phone has been launched in Tanzania.
Chizika is a free "music teaser" application developed by Ally Makongo. According to Ally, the application is available to mobile subscribers on the Tigo, Airtel, Zantel, Vodacom and MTN networks. It can be used on 3G and 4G mobile networks, as well as wi-fi, to stream and download your favorite tracks and permanently store them on your device. It also lets you download and stream high-definition videos to your mobile device or tablet, just like you're watching TV.
Besides enabling users to search for artists, songs and albums and to download the music itself, users are able to learn about upcoming gigs, access up-to-date artist information and share music with friends. The application also notifies users about exclusive song releases. Users can buy tokens to download songs for as little as 1000 Tanzanian Shillings (US$0.45).
Unlike other applications, the developers of Chizika say that users do not need usernames to use the application. There is apparently no need to register to use the app, so you can use the app as soon as you've downloaded it.
It remains to be seen just how well Chizika will be able to serve its customer base and claim a stake of Africa's growing digital music industry. The new app, which has been running since November 2015, joins a growing list of other similar applications that seek to enable users to access music more easily, either via streaming or downloads. Many of the leading African platforms make similar claims to provide users with a unique listening experience.
Among its competitors is Apple Music, which made its entry into the African music streaming space in June 2015. According to the latest IFPI Global Music Report, Apple Music has already attracted 10 million registered subscribers worldwide. Chizika will also have competition from established Tanzanian-based platforms such as Mziiki, Mkito and Tigo, as well as Mdundo in Kenya. Beyond the East African region, many of the biggest platforms on the continent are based in either Nigeria (such as Spinlet, iRoking, Vuga, Orin and Las Gidi Tunes) and South Africa (Simfy Africa), while Mvelani in Malawi recently announced plans to expand into Nigeria.