Spotify, the world’s most popular paid music streaming service, officially launched in the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday. The company said services would now be available in 13 Arab markets, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Morocco but not Libya, Iraq, Syria, or Yemen. Spotify has been unofficially available in the Middle East for several years via accounts usually registered in other markets such as Europe..
The Arab region is richly diverse, with varied musical styles and genres. Now, all users in the Middle East and North Africa will have access to Spotify’s entire catalogue of over 40 million tracks and billions of playlists, including a library of brand new, fully curated playlists available exclusively for listeners in the MENA region. From Today’s Top Arabic Hits the finest and freshest hits from the Arabic world—to Feel Good Arabic Hits and dance-floor favorites on Arabic EDM music fans in MENA can enjoy artists, albums, and songs across every genre for every mood and moment, all in a fully localized Arabic Spotify service with right-to-left text alignment.
The 13 new market launches increase Spotify’s total footprint to 78 total markets globally.
The Swedish company, founded in 2008, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in April. Before the launch in the Middle East and North Africa, Spotify’s music streaming services were available in 65 markets, according to its website.
“I am super excited to share with you that, from today, Spotify is now available across the Middle East and North Africa,” says Cecila Qvist, Spotify’s Global Head of Markets. “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 catalog of millions of songs, for both our free and premium users. Music fans will also enjoy Spotify’s personalized music recommendations from day one, which will help them easily enjoy, discover, and share new music from local and international artists.”
Of course, there are many millions of lovers of Arab music living outside the MENA region. So, in addition to these 13 new markets, we are also launching a globally accessible Arab hub as part of our Global Cultures initiative, which will connect the music and culture of the Middle East with listeners everywhere.
“As an artist who lived in the Middle East for 30 years, toured the world as a musician and now lives in the U.S., I’ve experienced the differences and similarities between Arabs around the world—and how close they are, even if they’re from different places,” says Suhel Nafar, Spotify’s Senior Arab Music & Culture Editor. “The Arab hub provides the unique platform that brings the full spectrum of Arab culture and creativity, past and present. Celebrating the different dialects, styles, flavors, and sounds.”
Listeners worldwide can explore the Arab hub to find playlists such as Yalla Araby (“Let’s go Arabic”—hits from the Middle East and North Africa);Women Wa Bas (Arab female artists); ’90s Arabic Hits (big at Arab wedding parties); and Arab Indie (emerging Arabic tracks and artists). More playlists highlight essential hits from various regions and cultures, like Egyptian,Lebanese, Palestinian, Moroccan, and Syrian.
“I wanted to focus on moods and moments that are important in Arab culture and history. Stargazer is dedicated to the Arabs who originally influenced astronomy. Many people don’t know that many stars have Arabic names. ‘Altair,’ shortened from ‘Nisr Al-Tair,’ means ‘the flying eagle’ in Arabic. People can sit back and relax to the instrumental playlist, which features various genres of classical music and maqamat (traditional melodies), and enjoy a piece of our culture.”