Remember a virus without a living organisms can't do anything. It depends on living cells and beings in order to really exist. So always add a touch of life to the reappropriations of technology you perform. You will reach meaningful experiences stronger than logics, code, and algorithms.


Pictures by Michaël Zumstein

Offline music sharing space

In the sun-blasted streets of Bamako, Mali's capital, offline downloaders reappropriate technology along Fankélé Diarra Street. A new kind of merchant has sprung up with a bunch of vendors full of laptops and libraries of millions of downloaded songs. These

téléchargeurs, or downloaders, sell songs for a small fee and transfer playlists to USB sticks, SD Cards or directly to mobile phones. They act sort of like an offline version of iTunes and Spotify, where they not only sell songs but also curate playlists and give recommendations to their loyal costumers. From the most underground Malian musicians like Ali Farka Touré, to the latest Lady Gaga album, this place has virtually any song, as it works as an analog russian forum. This Offline Music-Sharing Network emerged, because of the considerable big number of people that possess a mobile phone (as 2012 there were enough cellphones in service in Mali for every man, woman and child of the 15 million inhabitants) but a poor network which make internet connectivity mostly inexistent. This mobile phones function like digital Swiss Army knifes, capable of taking fairly good pictures, illuminating paths with their flashlights and playing music anywhere. These are not strictly smartphones any more but more so called feature phones, which can do more than calls.  


Mali’s Network of the unconnected has created a space that in someway is more exciting and vibrant than digital algorithm driven consumption of streaming services. This street is full of life and offer a more human and curated experience with music, compared to current music services. From Spotify and iTunes to the almost extinct Virgin and Tower Records, they could take some of these lessons from Latin America and Africa to reimagine the way we would prefer to consume music.



Almost the whole population of Mali has a mobile phone. However, the network is almost no existent so phones are hardly used for making calls. These phones have though, many features such as calculator, light lamp and music player, thus making them been understood as modern digital swiss army knives.


People needed to find a way to use the features of there phones even when the didn't have any data. They wanted to have songs and videos in their phones for a portable entertainment system.


Some people in Bamako gather on a street for exchanging music. They have millions of pre downloaded songs that are sold via USB Sticks, Bluetooth or directly to phones. They also select and curate music even recommending what you might like according to your taste.

New Service / Product / Interaction

An offline physical network and space for music sharing is created and can be understood as a offline social version of music streaming services such as Spotify.

New Meaning

Phones are no longer understood as just phones and music sharing isn't an individual experience. It is a shared experience with human touch much more meaningful than the powerful algorithms of Spotify.


Mobile Phones + Computers + USB Sticks, SD Cards, Bluetooth