Spotify launches in Middle East and North Africa

Spotify launches in Middle East and North Africa
Published: 14 November 2018 - 12:33 p.m.
By: Digital Studio Middle East Staff

Music streaming subscription service Spotify has officially launched in the Middle East and North Africa with specific Arabic content for local listeners, it was announced on Tuesday.

Spotify announced that it has launched its service in 13 new markets in the Middle East and North Africa, bringing the service to 78 markets in total. The new markets are United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories and Egypt.

“Spotify is launching in MENA with a full Arabic service, dozens of locally-curated playlists for every mood and moment, and access to a full catalogue of millions of songs, for both our free and premium users,” said Spotify global head of markets Cecilia Qvist in a statement.

The price of a standard Spotify subscription in the MENA region is notably cheaper than in many western countries: it’ll cost 19.99 a month in the local currencies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE ($5.33 and $5.44 respectively; EGP 49.99 in Egypt ($2.78); and $4.99 in the other countries.

The prices – which Spotify determines based on a particular market’s GDP – are cheaper than in many other markets, such as the United States ($9.99), UK ($12.98) and France ($11.28).

Among the features of Spotify in the MENA region are curated and regularly updated local playlists, such as “Today’s Top Arabic Hits” and ‘Arabic EDM”.

Spotify, however, faces competition in the region, where Apple Music and France-based Deezer already operate, in addition to local players such as Lebanon-based Anghami.

In an interview with Music Ally, Spotify EMEA managing director Michael Krause said that he also believes that Spotify’s presence in the region may help spread locally produced content further afield.

“There are 57 million Arabs living in the diaspora, in the US but also strongly in Europe: the UK, France, Germany,” he said. “Maybe the next ‘Despacito’ will come from the Middle East. The fundaments are ready for it to go.”

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