Dubai About 95 per cent of the music is pirated in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and the industry is losing a lot of revenue due to piracy, Claudius Boller, business development director at Universal Music Mena, told Gulf News.
The regional industry is very pirated and “we need to educate customers that music has a big value and only when we pay musicians we can bring it to professional studios to create a great music,” he said after forming a unique partnership with the largest computer manufacturer HP.
The alliance gives HP’s new customers who purchase Envy Sleekbooks access to the Universal Music’s rich catalogue of music, with the launch of HP Play – a new digital music experience – across the Middle East.
Digital music enthusiasts will be able create personalised playlists and enjoy unlimited streaming and 10 downloads a month at no cost.
Non-HP customers will have the opportunity to purchase HP Play packs in the near future. HP Play is now available in the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.
“Customers with older HP models can buy HP Play packs for Dh299 a year with 10 downloads a month. We are constantly working to redefine the digital entertainment experience for our customers. With innovative new products, services and collaborations, we want to enhance the way consumers connect with their favourite content, whether it’s music, movies or games,” said Salim Ziade, General Manager HP Printing and Personal Systems, HP, Middle East.
HP launched four models of ultrabooks in the region with Intel’s new Ivy Bridge chips.
“Pricing of models like iTunes are expensive for people to afford here, so we are helping everyone to have cheaper downloads in this region,” Boller said.
As of now, he said: “We have 170,000 songs in various languages, including 10,000 Arabic songs, and this number is expected to rise to around 500,000 in the next 12 months.”
Any new music albums launched globally “will be available on the Universal Music website simultaneously and we are adding new tracks every day,” he said.
The demand for music is growing in the region and it is going to be a “big market in the future. In two years the music industry in digital distribution will be completely changed in the Middle East,” he said.
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to give music fans access to legal digital music in the region. HP play is the first partnership ever, in this category, in this region and we will constantly grow our proposition to satisfy music lovers and fans. This partnership will also pave the way to signing and developing new local talent,” Boller said.
Universal Music “will also be bringing their service on mobile phones in the next two to three months,” he said.