UPDATED: Amanda Palmer Blows Past $1 Million On Kickstarter
Spotify Upgrades, Fixes Apple iOS Apps

Another Spotify-Like Music Service, This Time For The Middle East

Anghami-Logo_WebLast week we reported on Dhingana, a legal Indian music streaming service that recently surpassed 10.5 million monthly active visitors, becoming the largest legal Indian music streaming service. Now, recognizing the need for an on-demand music streaming services in the Middle East, a pair of Lebanese entrepreneurs have started Anghami, a unique music service to the Arab world that offers unlimited and offline music streaming to its users.

While Arabic music is available on Spotify and other music streaming services, users from Morocco to Saudi Arabia don’t have access to these. Anghami hopes to fill that void. The service offers access to a wide library of music, already signing with major Middle Eastern labels including Rotana, Mazzika, and Melody, as well as international labels the likes of Sony and EMI (a deal with Warner is said to also be in the works).

They’re funded, too. Anghami was one of five startups that received backing from Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) back in March, and a Turkey-based VC has also invested money into the company. Anghami is soon to launch in private beta in the form of an iPhone app, after initially intending to launch first as a Web-based service.

“We’re trying to provide all the music that a consumer in the Middle East would search for,” co-founder Eddy Maroun told The Next Web. “Our aim is to satisfy 90% of the queries, and I think we’re almost there. We’ll be the first music service in the region that will cover Arabic and international music.”

One of the more notable features about the product is its ability to offer users offline listening:

“You can have the ultimate music experience. You’ll never have to search elsewhere, you’ll never have to buy any songs, and you’ll never have to buy a CD. Your music library will be with you everywhere you go,” Maroun said.

In response to the troublingly slow Internet access in Lebanon (and many other countries in the Middle East), Anghami is said to be using state of the art technology in order to deliver quicker streams, emulating the feel of playing a song from a hard disk. They’ve teamed up with Dolby, utilizing Dolby’s Pulse encoding, which provides low-sized files, but sounds as if you’re hearing a 256K MP3 (it also saves bandwidth).

With a wide market of potential users, and a clear need that is aiming to be satisfied here, Anghami could easily end up being a "Spotify for the Middle East." It will be interesting to see how the company performs once they're out of beta, and into the mass Middle Eastern market. 

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House, LLC and is an independent musician himself. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud