Anghami Will Win Mideast Music Market

anghami-lebanon-music-streamingTell anyone that you’re launching a music start-up and their first reaction is one of skepticism – how can anyone build a sustainable business from an industry in decline, eaten away by piracy and hindered by ever-more complex regulations? Yet, here at Anghami, we breathe music. And we’re confident that our oxygen is not about to stop flowing.

Anghami is a mobile app which provides users with a seamless experience to listen to unlimited music on-the-go on their phones. With millions of songs to search from, stream, download and share, we aim to make listening to music enjoyable again, replacing the days of cumbersome CD collections, complicated file transfers between computer and mobile, and low quality, virus-infected downloads. We believe Anghami is the future of digital music consumption and the first service of its kind in the Middle East & North Africa.

We are tackling the industry’s problems heads-on by 1) bringing convenience to listeners, 2) legally licensing music from content owners and 3) creating win-win relationships with various partners along the way.

1)  Bringing convenience to listeners

By working with top engineers and expert user experience (UX) designers, we have developed a state-of-the-art mobile app for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian. The experience is so seamless, interactive and comprehensive that we believe music fans will gladly abandon their old ways of consuming music and shift to Anghami’s “all-you-can-eat” model. By doing so, they will be able to stream on-demand from millions of songs, literally!

To ensure that the enjoyment is uninterrupted, Anghami’s offline compatibility would allow them to download an unlimited number of songs to play when outside of WiFi or 3G zones. And it doesn’t stop there! Our smart-recommendation engine will introduce listeners to new music catered to their tastes. Since we’re living in an increasingly connected world (and music is inherently social), we made sure to integrate social elements in everything Anghami.

Our app will allow users to share music with their friends on social networks, create playlists for their loved one, or follow the music taste of their favorite artists by subscribing to their playlists. Anghami’s $5 subscription fee is a minimal price to pay for such convenience and access.

2)  Legally licensing music from content owners

We want Anghami to be the one-stop-shop for all music, offering the most extensive content catalogue in the region. To do so, we are continuously licensing content from major Arabic labels (Rotana, Mazzika, Melody, Platinum) and aggregators, as well as the major International labels (Sony, EMI, Warner).

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Every time a user plays a song on Anghami, the respective label earns a share of the user’s subscription fee. By making such revenue share agreements at the core of Anghami’s business model, we aim to become a sustainable revenue stream for large and small content owners. Moreover, with iTunes and other similar legal digital music services being absent from the Middle East region, every new subscriber we acquire is one less from piracy.

We are investing significant resources to become the legal alternative to piracy, ensuring that every track played on Anghami is licensed and that its owners are effectively remunerated.

3)  Creating win-win relationships with various partners

A start-up cannot succeed if it does not add value to its ecosystem partners. At Anghami, we strive to create lasting relationships with various partners across industries. Their common point: they are also avid music enthusiasts who believe in the power of our service.

Whether mobile phone operators, Smartphone device manufacturers, financial service institutions, media groups, advertising agencies, or consumer-packaged goods firms, we are jointly developing win-win partnerships that benefit all parties. Some examples include a bundling agreement with a regional mobile operator to offer Anghami with its prepaid plan as a means to acquire new customers.

Another is a local bank repositioning its youth credit card by branding it “Anghami” and offering the service for free to its cardholders. The opportunities are truly immense, and we are only at the tip of the iceberg.

While we are aware of the challenges that lie ahead and the mentality shift that should preempt the adoption of our music service, we are fully on-board in our mission to delight music fans with extensive, 100% legal content, and are confident in the value it will bring to them. Our answer to the skeptics: here’s a 30-day trial – we hope to see you next month!

George Audi, Strategy & Business Development Manager, is an ex-consultant turned tech entrepreneur. Having advised leading companies on their strategy and business issues, he now negotiates value-creating partnerships as the head of Anghami’s Strategy and Business Development. George holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.