Revenues from music streaming service accounts for 20 per cent of the global digital music market. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Online music streaming service, although a small percentage at present, is the new trend in the Middle East, compared to the digital music market.

Revenues from music streaming service accounts for 20 per cent of the global digital music market.

It is not only in the West that the competition is heating up, but also in the region.

Apple’s iTunes still dominates with 63 per cent market share in music downloads but it has no presence in the streaming segment and is expected to follow soon.

Even though the market is small at $1.1 billion, it is an arena for tough competition,

Many companies like France-based Deezer, Lebanon-based Anghami and Morocco-based Yala Music are trying to grab a bigger share of the market pie.

“The main competition for us is not iTunes or others, it is the piracy,” Choucri Khairallah, product and account manager at Anghami, told Gulf News.

Anghami has witnessed two million downloads since starting its service in the region in November 2012. It has around three million songs in English, Arabic and French and expects to have 8 million songs by year-end.

Deezer has more than 25 million tracks while Yala Music is focused only on Arabic content.

Currently Anghami is the number one in the Middle East and North Africa region.

“It is an app that allows you to stream music from any mobile and you can also download music in offline mode inside the application. We have all the international and Arabic content and have deals with all major labels,” Khairallah said.

The app is available on all platforms except Microsoft’s Windows.


Web version

“We are also going to launch a Web version of this app to users to access it on desktops and laptops,” he said.

Computer manufacturer HP has launched a similar service in the region almost a year ago for music lowers.

Anghami, an MBC partner, offers two types of service. One is free and the other is a premium service where the user pays $5 per month. The free service is limited to five hours per month at the moment and users cannot download songs in offline mode.

“Even though it is growing faster in the West, our region was missing this kind of service. They are used to iTunes where they can only buy songs. ITunes was launched in the region recently,” he said,

Globally, Khairallah said that music aficionadas are streaming music instead of buying them. Our model is convenient for the region as we are a Lebanese company and our focus is for the Mena region.

Top users for Anghami are in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

Anghami has even more ambitious plans this year to sign up customers to its streaming service by forming an alliance with the regional telecom operators to offer this app as a bundled data package.

“We have formed an alliance with a telecom partner in Jordan to offer this app as a bundled data package. We are also in very advanced talks with the operators in the Mena region to offer the service as a bundled package. We will be announcing within few weeks about the deals,” Khairallah said.

According to Strategy Analytics forecasts, digital music sales will overtake the physical market share by 2015.