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Stories

“Be bold” – A female entrepreneur launches the first Pan-African music streaming platform

Congolese rumba, Afrobeat, rap, mbalax, cabo, blues, electro… From the great classical melodies to the latest tunes, Africa is known for its dynamic, creative, and ever-evolving music. Thanks to Deedo, the first music-streaming platform dedicated to pan-African music, the continent’s diverse sounds can now be found in one space.

Published on 12.11.2020

“We launched Deedo with one goal in mind: to bring together the greatest African artists and talents of tomorrow and to offer the best African music to a wider public. The result of this will be a win-win relationship that benefits everyone,” explained Awa Girard, founder of Deedo.

Growing up a music lover in Senegal, Girard noticed that the visibility of African artists is low despite their representation on large streaming platforms. The lack of exposure does not simply impact their popularity, but also their livelihoods, explains Girard. “I realized that there was a problem and I felt it was my responsibility to solve it.”

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Deedo – the combination of the words “deed” and “do” – personifies Girard’s entrepreneurial spirit. Her path to becoming an entrepreneur, however, was not easy. “There are always many stereotypes on women, saying that they lack the ambition and are afraid of taking risks. Risk taking is not obvious, but women entrepreneurs should have the ability to put themselves in danger.” Girard shares two advice with women with entrepreneurial ambitions: “The first thing is determination. Believe in your project and just go for it. Second, to have a project that is as solid as possible. Because as women, sometimes we are not forgiven for those mistakes a man may make. Take time to do market research, to improve your business plan and to develop a clear vision.”

Three years after its launch in 2017, Deedo has greatly enhanced the visibility and popularity of African artists through 12 million tracks on their platform. Today, the platform is accessible in 6 African countries as well as France and the United Kingdom. The plan is for Deedo to be available in 27 countries, including 19 countries across West and Central Africa.

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Deedo is not only a key player in the African music industry, but also in social development. Through One Song One Soul, Deedo donates 5 per cent of each subscription to the non-profit organization of the user’s choice. “Deedoers can make civic actions happen during listening to the music.” In addition, the company built a recording studio in Dakar which today serves as a creative hub. “The studio is open to all. We hope to make music more accessible to people and accompany talents of tomorrow.” Master classes on the music such as recording, mixing and beat making are also offered by this studio.

In the past years, technologies have transformed the music industry profoundly. “When we first launched Deedo three years ago, ‘streaming’ was an extremely new concept in Africa. Now people know it much better.” While more and more listeners embrace the idea of paid streaming services, fair remuneration of artists – especially for content consumed online – has a long way to go. “Support from the public sector is needed for a sustainable music industry. The public sector should raise people’s awareness to pay for online contents through education and communication, such as workshops and information sessions. People need to be aware that paying for the music is crucial to support artists.”

“I love challenges. I am an entrepreneur at heart. Be bold, not be afraid.” Girard’s quest to introduce the world to the diversity of Africa music has only just started.

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On Girard’s playlist: Orchestre Jigeen Ni (Senegal), Nabila (Cameroun), Aïda Sock (Senegal)