Safaricom Music Streaming App - Songa



So you may notice I have edited the title of this topic. We have just received a tip that the music streaming app will be called Safaricom Beats. What do you think of the name?


I wonder why they didn’t choose a more local name like they do with most of their products. Are you saying there isn’t an african term for music beats that’s not as catchy (even more) than the likes of mdundo?


Safaricom beats is not too captivating of a name


they should have stuck with sheng words that describe music eg


Can you imagine what would happen if they went with debe? :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:


I am still voting for Safaricom Music or Saf Music.

Simplicity goes a long way. But we should still be grateful they haven’t gone with a name such as “Twaweza Beats”


Wait, why can’t they just go with Skiza? Like Skiza Music App.


This is true. And we don’t have the numbers that Apple, Groove Music, Spotify etc have. This plan seems odd as it’s not easily scalable. I would have thought African telcos would come together and create a continent wide music distribution system, leverage on the amount of content to attract users and eventually revenue.

This is not out of choice. There are certain requirements needed to have your music on these stores and not everyone has those resources. Apple for instance,if you go at it alone, you need:

  • At least 20 albums in your catalog.
  • UPCs/EANs/JANs for all products you intend to distribute.
  • ISRCs for all tracks you intend to distribute.

As you can see, the first three alone are impossible for a new artist to achieve

  • Apple ID
  • Universal Product Codes & International Standard Recording Codes
  • US Tax ID
  • Legal Secretary
  • Individual contracts for each region where you want your music available

The alternative is to go with an approved Aggregator (Basically brokers/middle men, experts in delivering content to iTunes. For a fee they can correctly format and deliver your content to Apple’s specifications). This is easier and cheaper for most artists.

View Apple-approved aggregators.

Costs depend on the aggregator. TuneCore for instance:

  • $9.99/year per single.
  • $9.99/year per ringtone.
  • $49.99/year per album (regardless of how many songs are on the album).

Artist retains rights to their work, and take home 70% after the aggregator & iTunes take their cut. The turn around time is anywhere from 3 days to 8 weeks depending on your store of choice - Apple is quicker. or Spotify which takes longer.

This is true. There are too many middle men in Kenya making money from creators (and farmers)

This is absurd. WTH! If SafCon really wants to pay kenyan artists like their International counterparts then a 70/30 split in favour of artists should be negotiated.

Apple have repeatedly said they don’t really make money from the iTunes store. It’s more of a revenue retention platform - provide content for users so they buy other apple products - and they achieve this through other ways like offering complimentary cloud storage - 5GB, cross device syncing etc. A telco like this one that ‘innovates’ through borrowing can find something to put as a value add.

As for the taxes, safcons size means it would be getting tax breaks to operate in Kenya. That plus it’s partially govt owned so their expenses aren’t as much. These breaks if extended to artists would mean they get the actual 70% royalties instead of being taxed to death.

Agile dev means that audio only is their best bet right now. Primary concern is data and as long as we live in a bundles world, such services will never reach their true success potential. This service needs the telco to adapt their approach towards hybrid uncapped data plans

If safcon won’t even offer unlimited whatsapp to its users - they’re still bitter about losing sms revenue, yet SMS should be free as it doesn’t cost the telcos anything to operate this music app will be a tough sell for them.

No offence taken. I expect them to shortchange their users every chance they get - they are profit first then people later - which is why this thread will help us outline as many expectations as we would like, so when the app does come, we have a measuring stick.

Good question as this is a legit nice name…


Aaah! I guess you have not heard about DistroKid. If you are an indie artists, they should your first pick.

  • 100% of your royalties.
  • $19.99 annual fee - Upload unlimited albums & songs.
  • Access to 150+ stores & streaming services.

The only other fees you pay are the distribution platform fees. e.g. iTunes takes 30%


No I haven’t. I am aware there are cheaper alternatives out there and I’m glad the specifics are being pointed out.

What this means is there is no reason Kenyan creators cannot receive the 70% revenue that’s owed to them.

  • Give artists 70% of all revenue
  • Zero rate the apps data usage during the trial.
  • Have an affordable package unlike the ridiculousness that is their video streaming bundles.
  • Don’t steal people’s bundles (How would they steal bundles? Aside from how they’ve (allegedly) normally been doing it by running scripts that deduct data while people sleep) By pushing music at a higher bitrate than necessary)

Basically 3 streaming options:

  • ~96 kbps - Normal quality on mobile. This is the minimum the streaming app should support. Most phones in Kenya are low-mid range so it’d be appropriate plus it will lessen the load for zero rated streaming.

  • ~160 kbps - Desktop and web player standard quality. High quality on mobile. For majority of the paying customers on mobile and default rate for web

  • ~320 kbps Desktop high quality. Extreme quality on mobile. For premium subscribers and those with high end smartphones (the app should be able to auto detect and adapt)

Safaricom Easy Bundle (Safaricom monthly Unlimited @3,500 bob or @6,000bob)


Then there is this:

And inside the article is this point:

Sprint’s is a watered-down version of that: unlimited data, but game streaming is capped at 8Mbps speeds. While music tops out at 1.5Mbps, the plan does offer HD video. Once you’ve used up your 10GB of LTE tethering, Sprint bumps down to 2G speeds, not 3G. Still, it’s currently the cheapest, starting at limited-time promotion of $50 per month (plus taxes and fees) alongside an even more spectacular deal that gets five lines for $95 (plus taxes and fees) per month. Both of those prices will only last until March 31st, 2018, after which they go up.

At 1.5Mbps, it would take about 20 seconds to buffer a 3 min song playing at 160KBps so this is definitely doable.


So this is back. Safaricom Beatz will officially be launched on Feb 12, just before Valentine’s.

I have used the app, Martin as well, perks of the job but I can’t tell you guys more because you won’t read my our article when it goes live Monday night. So just wait for it.

However, since I am feeling generous, if you have any questions, I might be inclined to answer you.


Eager to see wat music :notes: content will be there if it can move me from spotify or Apple music it’ll be worth my time


I think the platform will only have African music. In case that is what you listen to mostly, it might be perfect for you.

Streaming contracts from Sony Music, UMG, WMG etc are very very expensive.

@sarunibm, what is the music catalog like? Is it only african music ama?

Also from the article,

The latter being the bigger issue, mobile data prices in Kenya are not the friendliest and the hope is that Safaricom has a plan to either offer subsidized streaming data bundles or some other form of deal that will make it worthy for their consumers to use the service without the service looking like an extra burden, or maybe even the ability to save the songs offline.

I really don’t like this & we need to discourage anti-net neutrality practices. It might seem like a good deal for consumers but what happens when someone else decides to launch their own service?


There’s variety not just African but your guess is as good as mine on which genres have more content.

You have a point but Safcom is not throttling or denying anyone access to any other service, they are just making their service more accessible by using their own resources. It’s not like Safaricom blocks Apple Music or charges more for it.

Safaricom has video bundles that work on Showmax and YouTube, no one stops any other company from brokering such a deal with the telco. It’s a competitive world and everyone is looking for ways to make their product more attractive to the consumer.


Any word on how they plan on paying the artists who’s music will be hosted on the service?


Net neutrality does not necessarily mean blocking or limiting a competitor’s service. If Safaricom offered a lower priced ‘Safaricom Beats’ bundle, that would go against the ethos of net neutrality.

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to what net neutrality entails. Here is a quick extract from Wikipedia;

Net neutrality is the principle that governments should mandate Internet service providers to treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to deliver content tailored to the capabilities of a specific device or user, offer free services or to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

Again, this is anti-net neutrality (See extract above). It is possible that Naspers is paying Safaricom for this privilege.

What happens when a new startup is trying to compete with Showmax or Safaricom Beats? They will probably not have enough capital to broker such a deal.

Saying ‘no one stops any other company from brokering such a deal’ is a very blind way of looking at this. Get out of that little bubble you have built around you. Not every company can afford to do that. In fact, they might not have a marketing budget and instead choose to rely on organic traffic.

Adding these ‘brokered deals’ will effectively kill the organic traffic.

No good can come from making the internet pay to win.

I am looking forward to your article ‘exposing’ Safaricom’s anti-competitive ways in the near future if this keeps happening.

  • 7 reasons why Safaricom is the most hated company in Kenya.
  • All the Ways Safaricom Ripped Off People Over the Years.
  • Safaricom’s ridiculous explanation for why it wants to limit your [insert new video service] binges.

The article titles above were about Comcast.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


I think thats marketing and not necessarily a net neutrality issue. For it to qualify as “anti-net neutrality” there needs to be other services which are affected. What I mean is, its not wrong for Naspers and Saf to partner for showmax. What could be bad is if Netflix or Iflix and others complain safaricom is overcharging them for bandwidth. In my opinion I don’t think streaming market in kenya is good enough to warrant anti-net neutrality concerns. But it might in future, when maybe most kenyans prefer streaming than watching TVs, Radios, etc. I hope you get my point.


The answer to your question is, I won’t use it.
They should have considered Waabeh or Tecno’s Boomplayer


This i agree with you, partnering with the likes of Waabeh/Mdundo/Boomplay would pay off better in the long run. I feel that Safaricom is focusing so much on making money than winning over all those involved in this industry and not just the customers. This strategy of theirs of copy pasting instead of innovating, like with Masoko, probably won’t work
And then me i have an issue with paying for bundles on this product. If it were streaming on Spotify i would understand but for a telco’s own music streaming service, i pay for bundles then i pay for subscribing to the service, doesn’t make sense to me