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Anghami bets on Arabic music to deliver streaming growth

Egyptian star Amr Diab is the most popular singer on the Anghami platform, with close to 1.2bn streams
  • Active users up 46% to 19.5m
  • 60% of all music streaming is Arabic
  • Labs aim to boost new music creation

Abu Dhabi-based streaming provider Anghami is betting on Arabic content to deliver future growth as it announced a 41 percent increase in subscribers in the first half of 2022.

With just one percent of Anghami’s content being Arabic, it is one area that the company is looking to grow significantly, Elie Habib, chief technology officer at Anghami, told AGBI, adding that the ultimate aim will be to discover the next big Arab music star.

“Local Arabic content and improving our technology-enabled digital streaming platform are the key drivers that will maintain Anghami’s leadership position in the Arabic music streaming market,” Eddy Maroun, co-founder and CEO of Anghami, said.

The total number of music streams on the Anghami platform reached an all-time high in the first half of 2022. 

Arabic music streams now account for nearly 60 percent of total music streams – a 20 percent year-on-year increase.

Total revenue grew 29 percent year-on-year to $21.1 million, the company said, adding that the growth in subscribers was primarily due to higher conversion rates of advertising-supported users to paying subscribers.

A higher number of active users, which increased 46 percent to 19.5 million, resulted in increased advertising and subscription revenues. 

Anghami also said it recorded negative foreign currency effects of $3.5 million in revenue. Excluding these foreign currency effects and applying constant exchange rates year-on-year, revenue would have increased by more than 50 percent.

Person, Human, Suit
The agreement was concluded in Riyadh between Salem Al Hindi, CEO of Rotana Music, and Eddy Maroun, Anghami’s co-founder and CEO

“Anghami remains committed to launching more innovative offerings, expanding its global reach and delivering value to customers through best-in-class content and innovative new features,” F Jacob Cherian, co-CEO of Anghami, said.

“We are confident that this positive trajectory will continue through 2022 as we benefit from our growing partnerships and offerings.”

Anghami added in a statement that it remains committed to “launching more innovative offerings, expanding its global reach and delivering value to customers through best-in-class content and innovative new features”.

Anghami’s commitment to Arabic content comes as GXR Records, an independent music label, is launched in Dubai.

It will focus on developing talents in West Asian and North Africa (WANA), while music from the MENA region is getting more traction globally with one music venue and nightclub in Brooklyn, New York, holding a popular party night featuring Arabic pop, hip-hop, folk and electronic music.

A decade ago, it was practically unheard-of for a major New York club to regularly host a Middle Eastern-themed party. 

But now the party night called Laylit is part of a thriving scene in Brooklyn that puts Middle Eastern and North African music front and centre.

Anghami has announced several partnerships and initiatives to bolster its position as a provider of Arabic digital content and digital entertainment in the MENA region.

The launch of the first Anghami Lab in the Gulf region aims to boost Arabic content, with the new concept scheduled to debut this year in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, followed by venues in Dubai and then Abu Dhabi and Cairo.

The venues will feature a lounge, stage and recording studio, where artists can experiment by co-creating music inspired by both Arabic and international cultures to be performed in the venue. The resulting music will be made available exclusively on Anghami.

Face, Person, Human
Syrian superstar Assala Nasri released her latest album, Shayfa Feek, on the Rotana label

In February the company unveiled an exclusive partnership with Egyptian artist Amr Diab, the global megastar of Arabic music and the most streamed artist on the Anghami platform, with close to 1.2 billion streams. 

This deal brings the singer’s entire audio and video catalogue, as well as future releases, exclusively to the Anghami platform.

In April Anghami also announced a partnership with Rotana Music, the Arab world’s leading music label and owner of the largest Arabic repertoire of unique content in music, media, entertainment, events, and content production.

In June it renewed its marketing collaboration with MBC Group, based in Saudi Arabia, the largest media company in MENA. 

On August 2 Anghami announced a partnership with WAJEEZ, the Arabic subscription service for reading and listening to more than 3,500 audiobook summaries of Arabic books and translated international bestsellers. 

Anghami, which was the first Arab tech company to list on the US stock market Nasdaq in February, was founded in 2012.

It has the largest catalogue of Arab music, comprising 72 million songs and licensed content from leading Arabic labels, independent artists, and distributors.

It generates close to one billion streams a month and has established more than 40 partnerships with telecom companies to facilitate subscriptions and customer acquisitions.