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Safaricom takes on Spotify with ‘Baze Music’

Safaricom is expanding its Baze platform to now include music streaming. The company explains the new venture as a mobile-first, ad-free, music steaming experience for as little as KES 10 a day. I’ve already written about Baze here so if you want to understand what that platform is, read that article.

Basically, it is an entertainment platform that at launch felt like YouTube, Netflix and TikTok all in one. Now it feels like Spotify is being added to the mix.

This however won’t be Safaricom’s first stint with music streaming. Back in 2018, the company announced Songa by Safaricom music streaming app. It was really pushed hard after launch not only with adverts everywhere but also with huge deals with different artists. It however failed to take off, and has since been retired.

With the expansion of the Baze platform to now support music streaming, perhaps this signals a new approach, or perhaps Baze just seems to be working okay, so the company is expecting music streaming to also sort of work. We wait and see.

How to use Safaricom Baze Music:

  • Dial *544*55# or go to bazemusic.co.ke
  • Sign up with your Safaricom phone number
  • There are three subscription plans: All-day pass with 50MB for KES 10, weekly pass with 300MB at KES 50, or mostly pass with 1.5GB at KES 200
  • New customers get a 7-day free trial with 500MB daily
  • You can also set Skiza tunes for your callers directly from the portal

As you can see, Safaricom is not only giving you access to their library of music at an affordable rate, they’re also looking to solve a hindrance to music streaming in the country which remains data. So with the pass, you also get to have data to help you stream the music. Let’s hope this approach works.

In the country, we already have Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and many other music streaming platforms jostling for users. Spotify officially came in early 2021 and could be enjoying significant numbers given their push online. Being that they have a Freemium subscription model, allowing for both free and paying users, it will be interesting to see who gets the big numbers in the end.

It will be interesting to see what users prefer:

  • The freemium Spotify model with ads and a great set of apps for mobile, tablet, tv, cars, etc
  • The premium Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify etc model with high quality sound, and a lot of apps, and option to download offline.
  • The sub-premium daily pass being offered by Safaricom’s Baze music with no downloadable apps – just web apps – and no option for offline listening. But offering data to use for the streaming.

Safaricom says as a way of promoting and supporting Kenyan talent, Baze Music will feature a vast collection of local music genres including gospel, gengetone, urban local, reggae and Bongo Flava, with over 45,000 local songs and 1.1 million international tracks available.

Among the key artists whose content is on Baze Music include Two-time Afrima Award Winner Nikita Kering, Gospel artists Daddy Owen & Guardian Angel, Trio Mio, Jua Cali, Bahati, Mejja, Nviiri The Storyteller, Femi One and Ohangla maestro Prince Indah among others. 

“Our goal is to provide Kenyans freedom, choice and control over the content they consume, and I am delighted that our customers have enjoyed a variety of content on Baze since the platform was launched in May 2021. To further enhance their experience, we are introducing Baze Music, which will also provide Kenyan artists with a new avenue for monetizing their music in addition to the Skiza platform,” said Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom CEO.

“With such a unique digital platform, I call upon our artists to be part of this journey and utilize this opportunity to earn while showcasing and growing their musical talents,” added Mr. Ndegwa.

The company explains that the launch of Baze Music is a continuation of their commitment to growing Kenya’s creative and music industry. This year in August, they increased Skiza revenue by 33% which they say has enabled more than 20,000 artists and content creators to benefit from increased earnings.

Personally, I can’t wait to see how Baze Music fairs on. Perhaps second time’s the charm?

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Dickson Otieno

I love reading emails when bored. I am joking. But do send them to editor@tech-ish.com.

2 Comments

  1. This will never take off. Spotify is a far much mature product offering users seamless switching between pc, smart tv and phones. Baze is evidently underdeveloped and lacking the variety of music most users might need.

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