After studying in Canada, Senegalese Moustapha Diop returned to Dakar to create Solid, a sustainable IT solution company.

Fast forward a few years and Diop has launched MusikBi, the first music download service developed on the continent – legal, that is. He’s got the likes of heavyweight musicians like Baaba Maal and Youssou N’dour featured on the site and his base is growing.

Where did you come up with the idea to create this platform?

Africa’s history is tied to music but I noticed that platforms like Spotify were not suitable for African audiences because they all rely on card payments online. I thought of a way for people here to be able to benefit from this kind of service. Everyone has a phone here; the idea with MusikBi is that people can pay directly from their phone’s balance.

So you do not define yourself as the Senegalese Spotify? How is MusikBi cut out for a Senegalese audience?

We are very different from those platforms due to our revenue model. We are also different because we are a download platform. We mainly decided to not be a streaming platform because of the bad connectivity. The challenge however is that due to bad network, the download can sometimes be interrupted. We had to figure out a way to work around this risk.

How did the audience and artists react to MusikBi?

In Senegal, it’s rare for artists to make revenue from selling music. Because of many different reasons they themselves contribute to illegal downloading.

It was a way for them to promote themselves and make revenue from concerts. MusikBi is a democratic way of distributing music. All of the artists sign a contract with us and they can follow how much their music is appreciated by the public. The public was excited!

We are launching in Côte d’Ivoire next month.

Soon after the launch we had to get another server to cope with the audience. Today half of our audience is from the diaspora.

What’s next for MusikBi?

Our strategy is to not limit ourselves to Senegalese music. We are launching in Côte d’Ivoire next month and will be looking into expanding to other African countries in the near future. So long as there are people and there is music, we’ll keep going!

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