The most-subscribed music streaming service in the world officially launched in the region on November 13, becoming available in 13 Mena countries. Spotify now exists in a total of 78 countries, including the UAE. Here’s what you need to know:
40 million songs and counting
The Swedish music mammoth confirmed they will be offering their entire music catalogue in the Arab world, including more than 40 million songs and 3 billion playlists. Specially curated playlists for the Middle East include Top Arabic Hits, EDM in Arabic, Party Bil Khaleeji and Faye’e Raye’e.
It will be free, with ads
The service will allow users to access the service for free, without limitations, through an ad-supported platform. For a subscription fee of Dh19.99, users can upgrade to a Premium account, where they can enjoy ad-free listening as well as offline storage capabilities.
As well as user-generated playlists, and those curated by regional music experts, an algorithm will eventually learn the listening habits of Premium users and deliver personalised playlists every Monday through a mixtape called Discover Weekly.
How it began
Spotify launched in 2008 in Sweden and has 191 million listeners worldwide. Similar to other media streaming services, it arrived at a time where music piracy was prevalent and offered an alternative, more reliable platform for music consumption.
Spotify has paid rights holders more than €10 billion (Dh41.3 billion) since its launch, and has amassed more than 87 million Premium subscribers in the last decade.
Now in the UAE
Online users have long questioned when the service would launch in the UAE. Michael Krause, managing director for the EMEA region, said they wanted to ensure they could offer a fully localised Arabic service first.
“We wanted to get it right,” said Krause.
Spotify will also offer a low data saver feature, so users can listen on the go. An hour of listening without a Wifi connection will amount to about 11mbs of data usage, which Spotify representatives said is approximately four times lower than competing platforms.
At Spotify’s launch party on Tuesday evening in Dubai’s Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel, congratulatory celebrity video messages were compiled, including Diplo, Bazzi, Ragheb Alameh, Manal, Sharmoofers, J Balvin and Mashrou Leila, all of whom expressed their excitement that their music would now be available in the region on the streaming platform.
Other music streaming services in the UAE
Spotify joins a small bouquet of existing streaming services available in the region. Get to know them below.
Catalogue: 40 million tracks in the UAE
Premium subscription: Dh9.99 for students, Dh19.99 for individuals, and Dh29.99 for families (up to six accounts)
Though Apple Music is relatively new, launching just over three years ago, it’s one of the most popular music and video streaming platforms today. Its catalogue includes several chart-topping exclusives, including Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Drake’s Views from the 6. The app also features the Internet radio station Beats 1.
Catalogue: More than 30 million tracks
Premium subscription: Dh17.99 per month, or Dh27.50 for a family plan of up to six accounts
Anghami was the first legal music streaming service to come out of the Arab world. It boasts an abundant catalogue of Arabic music, though it also includes Western tracks. Initially, Anghami was created as a mobile-only app by Eddy Maroun and Elie Habib in Lebanon, but later expanded.
Catalogue: More than 53 million tracks
Premium subscription: Dh18 per month
Deezer launched more than a decade ago in France, and now boasts over 50 million licensed tracks. The first version of Deezer was called Blogmusik, as developed by Daniel Marhely in Paris. After being shut down due to copyright infringement, the site relaunched as Deezer in 2007.