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Audio streaming service Spotify launches in East Africa

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Swedish audio streaming service Spotify has launched in  Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. East Africans will now join the over 345 million monthly active listeners who stream popular music and podcasts on the platform for free.

Spotify also has a premium subscription service that offers ad-free streaming. The New York Stock Exchange-listed firm has also expanded to Nigeria and Ghana as it looks to enter other markets in the continent. Spotify was available in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and South Africa.

“African creators have always pushed boundaries, innovating and creating incredible sounds and starting from today we are giving them access and the opportunity to connect with a global audience of fans,” said Phiona Okumu, Spotify head of music for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The platform offers music and podcasts with algorithmic recommendations personalised to each listener’s preferences. Reuters on Monday had reported that the company would launch in 85 new markets, targeting to reach a billion listeners by close of the year.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday that the African audience will have access to Spotify’s Afro genre hub that encompasses a wide range of African music, including AmaPiano Grooves, Afropop, African Heat, and Phenomenal Woman.

They will also be treated to popular Bongo Flava tunes, local hits and more. “We hope our new listeners are going to love the revolutionary audio experience we are bringing to the rest of the continent,” Ms Okumu said.

Spotify joins other streaming apps in the market including Apple Music, BoomPlay and Deezer. The company, founded in Sweden in 2008, streams across 93 markets spread in all the continents.

It has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to boost its podcast range, which now has more than 2.2 million podcast titles, including “The Michelle Obama Podcast” and one by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.

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