Mixed reaction as Tidal makes headway in Uganda

Friday November 9 2018

Tidal Uganda

Models next to a Tidal-MTN booth during the launch of the streaming service in Kampala on August 22, 2018. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI
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The recent deal between American music streaming service Tidal and telecom service provider MTN Uganda has elicited mixed reaction among Ugandan artistes.

The partnership offers music, videos and exclusive content to MTN customers from as low as Ush600 ($0.16).

After a free 30-day trial, users can continue to use the service through daily subscriptions. Other options are three, seven or 30 days subscriptions.

Tidal Rising and Tidal X also offers opportunity for up-and coming artistes.

Suzan Kerunen, a Ugandan singer-songwriter says that service will be a game changer.

“Tidal’s entry in the Ugandan music industry is vital and timely. It is filling missing gaps in making Ugandan music break out into the global space,” Kerunen told The EastAfrican.

However, for Joel Sebunjo, a folk artiste, he sees no significant impact of the subscription-based service on the industry.

“I see it as one of those waves that blow by and afterwards it's all back to usual business… masses have always accessed the music they want on their phones through various avenues like Spotify, YouTube and Deezer,” he said.

According to Olivier Prentout, MTN Uganda chief marketing officer, the service will allow artistes to make money from their music and help stem copyright infringement.

“Through Tidal artistes can now benefit from their music in form of full track streaming which fights the piracy that has been affecting the industry,” said Prentout.

Among notable Ugandan stars available on the platform include: Apass, Juliana, Vinka, Fik Famaica, Radio and Weasel, Beenie Gunter, King Saha, Bebe Cool, Rema, Eddy Kenzo, Jose Chameleone, Irene Ntale, Navio, Sheebah, David Lutalo, Spice Diana, Lydia Jazmine, Allan Toniks, Fille, Ykee Bender, Geosteady, Winnie Nwagi, among others.

Uganda is the second African country after South Africa where the streaming service is available.

Globally, digital music sales have overtaken physical sales.

Tidal is co-owned by US rap mogul Jay-Z. Other co-owners are also musicians, making it the first artiste-owned streaming service globally.

It is accessible in more than 52 countries globally and has more than a 57 million song catalogue, over 233,000 videos and exclusive releases.

It is available on both Android and iOS devices and can also be streamed on desktops.