When it comes to streaming music, listeners in Africa don't have the same luxury of choice that you'll find in the US and elsewhere internationally. Spotify still hasn't made its way to the continent, for instance, giving competitors like Simfy and Deezer a leg up. Universal Music is now throwing its hat into the ring with the launch of the Kleek, a new mobile streaming service. The Kleek is initially being rolled out in five African territories first, including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Angola, but Universal ultimately wants to achieve availability throughout the entire region.
Samsung stands to win big if the service proves to be a hit; it's signed an exclusive two-year pact with Universal that lets it preinstall the Kleek on its devices (and give users 12 months of free streaming). Owners of other Android hardware aren't being left out entirely; they'll eventually be able to download the app from Google Play. At its core, the Kleek software isn't radically different from other services. You'll find celebrity playlists, artist diaries and charts listing the most popular tracks.
But Universal recognizes that for Kleek to find success, it will need to showcase local artists just as much as international sensations — particularly during the launch phase. "The idea behind the service is to do something unique for Africa," Francis Keeling, the company's global head of digital business, recently told Billboard. "You can’t simply take an international service and plonk it on Africa and expect it to be successful." Keeling thinks focusing on the unique pillars of local music will help artists break through in their home continent "and ideally around the world." Content-wise, there's some work to be done though. The Kleek is launching with a library just "hundreds" of songs deep.