Spinlet, the iTunes of Africa

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

Spinlet is a mobile music service that brings media distribution to emerging markets in Africa

This past week Electronic Products spoke with the CEO of Spinlet, Neil Schwartzman. Known as the “iTunes of Africa,” Spinlet brings you the world of African music, including tracks from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and more. With Spinlet you can discover the latest in African music, create playlists, and share your favorite tracks. Wondering what’s so different about Spinlet compared to other music distribution companies? Read on to find out.

Neil Schwartzman, CEO, Spinlet

Neil Schwartzman, CEO of Spinlet.

Electronic Products: Where did the idea for Spinlet come from?

Neil Schwartzman: Digital is the future of entertainment. Music fans all over the world are choosing to listen to their music when and where they want. The inspiration for Spinlet came from identifying this, but also the need for local musicians (wherever they reside) to have an easily accessible, affordable showcase for their talent that can reach more people and from which they can instantly start generating revenue.

Targeting emerging markets such as Africa where online services are developing and growing exponentially also made it easier to roll Spinlet out, especially as the African diaspora around the globe enjoy accessing the sound of “home.”

EP: What makes Spinlet different from other music distribution companies?

NS: Spinlet combines its international library of music with its focus on building in-country musicians, artists, and sharing revenue with those artists whose careers are developed and grown by the fans. As a result, the company is also instrumental in growing a more sustainable music industry in these territories, some of which have been fraught with piracy issues for many years and which Spinlet is helping to overcome.

EP: Spinlet has been called the “iTunes of Africa.” Are downloads only available in African countries?

NS: No, the platform is global, appealing not only to the African diaspora but also to a growing international audience who are appreciating authentic African sounds, although please remember that we also have a vast international music library as a result of our partnerships with major labels.

EP: How much do music downloads cost?

NS: The cost varies per territory and per genre and costs are geared to each local audience. In South Africa, the cost of tracks is R5.99 and albums are R59.99.

EP: How many people are currently using Spinlet, and how do you think this number will grow?

NS: Currently we have in excess of 700,000 registered subscribers, and this is estimated to grow significantly as we launch into new territories.

EP: How many downloads are you expecting by the end of this year?

NS: We expect to do upwards of 10 million downloads next year.

EP: Overall, what is the main goal of Spinlet and how will the company go about accomplishing it?

NS: Spinlet’s goals are to continue providing great music to more people, whether this is with local audiences or shared with the world.  We want to be instrumental in sustaining a vibrant commercially successful music industry that benefits all parties — the fan, the artist, and the industry.

To learn more, visit spinlet.com.


  1. charlypriest · November 4, 2013

    This guy is quite the visionary, I can see us white people in funny african outfits dancing to the sound of..whatever it is called, but nice music. 10 million downloads? is that a lot or not?

    • Nicole DiGiose · November 6, 2013

      I’d say so!
      You’re funny. Thank you for reading!

      • charlypriest · November 6, 2013

        I try to be funny, nice piece though, always interesting articles you write.

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