Did you know that female pop stars are all the rage in the UAE? Or that more women than men like dance music here?
This, according to a new survey by Sony Music Middle East that looked into the listening trends of 25,000 people across the Arab world, 5,000 of them in the UAE.
Arabic pop, khaleeji, dance, hip-hop and Bollywood music scored particularly well locally, Gulf News tabloid! learnt from Anna George of Sony Music Entertainment Middle East.
Jazz (more popular than rap and hip-hop), ’90s music and acoustic genres also ranked highly. Meanwhile, reggae, indie rock, and trance didn’t do well with the UAE crowd.
Participants between the ages of 15-55 from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and the UAE took part in a 40 minute online questionnaire where they answered a series of in-depth questions about their music preferences, artists, genres, songs, lifestyles, media habits and more.
When it came down to specifics, there was a pattern: 35 per cent of the overall UAE population are Adele fans, 32 per cent Shakira fans, 31 per cent Rihanna fans, 25 per cent Elissa fans and 22 per cent Nancy Ajram fans.
Aside from female-led pop music, over a third of women in the UAE enjoy dance music, compared to 19 per cent of men.
12 per cent of the Saudi population, all of whom are women, enjoy electronic music. Pop-rock is the most popular genre in Lebanon. And most sports fanatics in Egypt also love rap.
The survey is new to the region, but was developed a decade ago by Sony Music under the name ‘Audience Segmentation’. It has been used in over 40 countries worldwide. Aside from providing insights into varying music scenes, the survey aims to match commercial brands with their target markets through the use of sound.
Results split people into four categories: the Fanatics, who are obsessive about their music, create playlists, and attend gigs often; the Enthusiasts, a more common group who enjoy partying and socialising; the Casual, who spend a lot of time listening to Top 40s and the Indifferent, who couldn’t care less.
In the UAE, a portion of the Fanatics who are 21-29 year old women enjoy listening to David Guetta, Taylor Swift and Megan Trainor, and would be less likely to listen to Imagine Dragons, The Wanton Bishops or Sharmoofers. These women turn to live concerts, digital platforms and apps such as Shazam to discover new music, as opposed to magazines, radio adverts or banners.
Meanwhile, the Indifferent segment — the largest group at 32 per cent of the population — are fans of ’90s music and regional artists, including Elissa, Nancy Ajram and Tamer Hosny. A small portion are fans of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. This crowd, in contrast to the Fanatics, are more likely to discover music through television adverts and radio segments.
A portion of the Enthusiasts group are males between the age of 15 and 20 who listen heavily to Arabic rock, rap and hip-hop. Only 1 per cent listen to electronic dance music. According to the survey, these guys are the football-playing, fitness-loving kind, and aren’t too fond of books or discussions of political affairs. They are likely to use apps such as Anghami and Shazam for their music-related activities.