Available as an Android download, the streaming music platform wants to focus on the DRC first.
Baya Ciamala started from a simple observation: “Congolese music is not sufficiently emphasized on major streaming applications, such as Deezer or Spotify. The day Papa Wemba died, not one of these applications came back on his career, no one has proposed playlists to these fans. ”
This radio host from Kinshasa has been maturing his project for a long time and is launching in 2017. For one year, his application Baziks is available for download on Android, the mobile operating system of Google, and accessible from Internet browsers. “The app offers more than 300 artists, or 1,500 hours of music, and already has 10,000 subscribers,” says the 37-year-old big guy at Discop, the big African audiovisual market, which closed at Johannesburg Friday, November 16th.
Two years ago, at the same place, Baya Ciamala won the Online Music Award of the first edition of Digital Lab Africa, a springboard for African entrepreneurs organized by French cooperation. Each year, ten multimedia project leaders – animation, video games, online music, virtual reality and immersive content – are selected.
In addition to a check of 3,000 dollars (about 2,600 euros), they are coached and leave in incubation in France to get their startups off the ground. “We helped Baya reposition its project, rethink its business model and the target market it wanted to tackle,” says Erika Denis, the program’s coordinator, who is also an audiovisual attaché at the French Embassy in South Africa.
“A niche market”
Originally, Baya Ciamala targeted the whole of Africa and targeted independent or self-produced artists. Finally, Baziks follows more Deezer’s model and refocuses on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), “at least for the moment,” he says. For comparison, Deezer, the French application launched in 2006, has 16 million subscribers in 180 countries, and a catalog of 53 million songs.
“We are in a niche market, but there is a huge demand for online music. There is room for everyone, “says the enthusiastic entrepreneur, who is about to enter the commercialization phase of its application. In early 2019, Baziks will offer monthly subscriptions of 3 or 4 dollars, on the Freemium and Premium model of many applications. “People will pay for their subscription if they wish, or else it will be advertisers who will allow the public to consume music,” he says.
Before that, the start-up will launch a crowdfunding campaign to build a paying subscriber base and, with the funds raised, solve the latest technical bugs of the website and the application. Backed by the Digital Lab Africa, Baya Ciamala has also partnered with Vodacom, the first RDC telephone operator with 12 million subscribers, to take advantage of its Mpesa online payment platform. But also with the Congolese Society of Copyrights (Socoda), which he now has access to the catalog.
“We will add this content as and when we are picky about our choices,” he explains, while the capacity of its servers is still limited. That the future subscribers can reassure themselves: “From the traditional rumba to the young talents of the afro-urban, all have a place on Baziks! Adds the contractor.