Dubai: In one of its first steps toward a full roll out, music streaming service Spotify is now available for existing account holders in the Middle East and North Africa without the need for a VPN, a number of users have said.
For non-subscribers, the company’s UAE service is currently invite only, with visitors to Spotify’s local website able to enter their email address in return for an invitation.
Gulf News reported in September that the Swedish company was planning to launch across the entire region in November.
Spotify’s service in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Tunisia, Algeria, Qatar, and Morocco are currently invite only too.
In another move presumably aimed towards launching the service in the region, Spotify has launched a new Twitter account, @SpotifyArabia.
According to a publicly available Twitter API, Gulf News understands that the account was created on October 29, 2018.
It is unclear when Spotify plans to become available to non-subscribers without an invitation. The company could not be reached for comment.
As of Monday night, Spotify was still unavailable on the UAE’s Apple App Store.
In August, the Swedish company was searching for advertisers ahead of its November roll out in the region, according to an internal email reviewed by Gulf News.
In an email sent to staff at a Dubai-based advertising agency, a senior media executive is quoted describing how Spotify is looking for six brands to advertise, at a cost of $200,000 (Dh734,500) each, ahead of the platform’s November launch.
Meanwhile, the company is ramping up its recruitment drive in the region, advertising for a Dubai-based copyright infringment manager, a metadata manager, and an artist marketing manager on LinkedIn.
Earlier this year, Spotify began hiring for a number of positions locally, indicating an imminent regional launch.
In February, it also disclosed in public documents that it had leased a number of regional offices, including one in the UAE.
Notably absent throughout the Arab world — especially since the launch of rival platforms — industry analysts have suggested that music licensing issues may have delayed Spotify’s arrival.