Best Music Streaming Services In The Middle East
Whether you need some good music to listen to while at home, work, or the gym, these are the best music streaming services in the Middle East.
The music industry relies on royalties, and it protects its source of revenue by enforcing restrictive licensing terms that often limit the availability of songs to certain regions. Fortunately, there are multiple music streaming services that aim to bring artists from around the world directly to the ears of Middle Eastern listeners. We’ve taken the time to research them for you, and we can now present you with the following list of the best music streaming services in the Middle East.
Top 5 Most Popular Music Streaming Services In The Middle East
The music streaming industry in the Middle East and Africa region is set to grow from $1.5 billion in 2019 to $3.2 billion by 2027, and the five music streaming services described below collectively share the biggest slice of the lucrative pie.
🎧 Number of active users: 19.5 million
Last year, Anghami cemented its role as the largest music streaming service in the Middle East when it revealed that the number of its active users had reached 19.5 million. Out of those, 1.3 million are paying subscribers. No wonder Anghami is often called the “Spotify of the Middle East.”
The music streaming service was launched in 2011 in Lebanon as the first legal music streaming platform in the Middle East, and it now provides the largest catalog of licensed music. Besides Arabic labels like Platinum Records and Melody, Anghami is also home to some of the largest international labels, such as Warner Music Group, Sony, and Universal.
Anghami is a freemium service, which means that users can listen to millions of songs for free and upgrade to the Anghami Plus plan ($4.99 per month or $44.99 per year) only when they decide to elevate their music-listening experience by unlocking the ability to listen offline, view lyrics, and much more.
🎧 Number of active users: 456 million
Spotify is the king of the music streaming world, and the Middle East is part of its dominion. At the time of writing this article, Spotify’s vast content catalog includes over 80 million tracks, most of which are available to Middle Eastern listeners.
Discovering new regional content on Spotify is easy thanks to professionally curated playlists like Today’s Top Arabic Hits, Arabic EDM, and Oriental Chill Vibes. Besides them, there are countless of user-created playlists that can fit just about any mood.
Just like Anghami, Spotify is a freemium music streaming service with premium plans for individuals ($9.99 a month), couples ($12.99 a month), families ($15.99 a month), and students ($4.99 a month).
#3- Apple Music
🎧 Number of active users: 88 million
Launched in 2015, Apple Music is a great choice for those Middle Eastern listeners who are already invested in the Apple ecosystem. You can purchase it on a monthly or annual basis as a standalone service or as part of the Apple One collection of services (starts at $12.95 a month).
In October 2022, Apple celebrated 100 million songs in the Apple Music library, which is an admirable number considering that the service is four years younger than Spotify.
Apple Music has been praised for helping its users discover great songs by highlighting new, interesting releases, sharing playlists curated by the Apple Music team, and providing tailored recommendations based on each user’s preferences. The subscription service also includes three live 24-hour radio stations (Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country), so it’s always easy to find something play-worthy.
🎧 Number of active users: 16 million
France is home to good wine, picturesque vacation spots, world-famous cuisine, and also Deezer, a music streaming service that operates in over 180 countries around the world, including those located in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Backed by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Deezer is known for its great sound quality, support for user-uploaded MP3s, accurate recommendations, and very active community of users who are actively shaping the service, making it better and better.
The free Deezer plan is powered by ads and provides access to over 73 million songs. Those who would like to enjoy unlimited, offline, ad-free music can upgrade to Deezer Premium ($11.90 a month) or Deezer Family ($19.48 a month).
#5- YouTube Music
🎧 Number of active users: 80 million
In September 2022, YouTube announced that it had launched its music streaming service in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and five other markets. YouTube Music is available as a standalone subscription ($9.99 a month), and the service is also included in the YouTube Premium plan ($11.99 a month).
According to some estimations, YouTube Music has around 100 million tracks in its catalog, including albums, singles, videos, remixes, and live performances. Paying users can take advantage of ad-free playback, audio-only background playback, and the ability to download songs for offline playback.
YouTube Music has been criticized for having a disorganized user interface and lacking some popular music that’s readily available on competing services, but both of these issues will likely be resolved in the future.
Other Popular Music Streaming Services In The Middle East
Aside from the above-described heavyweights of the music streaming industry, there are several other platforms listeners in the Middle East should consider. These platforms stand out by offering unique features, approaches, or content.
Tidal launched in the United Arab Emirates in February 2022, offering its collection of over 90 million songs and playlists. What sets this music streaming service apart from competitors is its focus on high-fidelity sound.
If you consider yourself to be an audiophile (or at least someone who can tell the difference between a low-bitrate and high-bitrate file), then you’ll appreciate the ability to stream in their original quality or lossless FLAC. Tidal also supports innovative immersive sound formats like Dolby Atmos or 360 Reality Audio.
SoundCloud is a music streaming service that allows users from around the world to effortlessly upload their audio tracks and reach large audiences of listeners eager to discover talented artists before they make it big.
The service is based in Germany, and it’s estimated that its servers store more than 200 million tracks, so you’re guaranteed to never run out of music to listen to. In addition to listening, SoundCloud encourages its users to like, comment, and generally become active members of its vibrant community of music lovers.
Over 3.4 million Indian expats are estimated to be living in the UAE alone, so it’s great that India’s largest commercial music streaming service, Gaana, is available worldwide. The service has more than 200 million monthly users, and it provides access to around 30 million songs.
Gaana is the most affordable music streaming service described in this article, priced at just $1.20 per month within India and $3.99 per month outside India. Unfortunately, there’s no free tier because Gaana is a subscription-only service.
The music streaming industry in the Middle East is thriving and projected to reach new heights in the coming years. Listeners in the region have many different platforms to choose from regardless of if they want to enjoy the greatest global hits or Middle Eastern classics. In this article, we’ve described the top 5 best music streaming services currently available while throwing in several extra recommendations for you to consider. If you’ve found what you’ve been looking for, you can kick back, put on some tunes, and let the music take you on a journey of discovery and relaxation.
NEOM Airlines Is Saudi Arabia’s New, Tech-Centric Carrier
The airline will embrace advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, and utilize high-tech propulsion systems by 2026.
Opening in 2025, NEOM is a $500 billion Saudi Arabian smart city that will be powered entirely by renewable energy. Now, Saudi authorities have announced that the futuristic metropolis will also be served by its own dedicated carrier — NEOM Airlines.
The service will begin operating in 2024 and embrace advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence and biometric check in. Aircraft will fly to and from NEOM Bay before moving to the soon-to-be-built NEOM International Airport.
Also Read: ChatGPT Is Accelerating The AI Revolution In The Middle East
NEOM Airlines will focus on tourist, commercial, and residential travel and incorporate plenty of cutting-edge technology. Klaus Goersch, the airline’s CEO, revealed that existing aircraft will be retrofitted with existing technology on launch, but by 2026, an ultra-modern fleet will be in operation, “whether electric, hydrogen-powered, or supersonic”.
As well as modern, low-emissions power airplanes, NEOM aircraft will also be fitted with sleek, modern interiors, 6G Wi-Fi, large screens for every seat, plus gaming and chat technology.