Saudi Arabia makes $5 million strategic investment in Anghami, the 'Arab Spotify'

Saudi Arabia makes $5 million strategic investment in Anghami, the 'Arab Spotify'
Lebanese-founded Anghami has become the main competitor to Spotify in the Middle East.
2 min read
23 August, 2023
Arab artists such as Elissa feature on Anghami [Getty]

Music streaming service Anghami has received a $5 million cash injection from a Saudi state-owned venture capital arm, it was announced this week.

Saudi Research and Media Group's SRMG Ventures announced the strategic investment in the Lebanese-founded music service on Monday, which is second only to Spotify in scope in the Middle East.

Elie Habib, a co-founder of Anghami, said that while the size of the investment is "insignificant" the entry of Saudi Arabia to the Middle East music scene and SRMG's advertising clout will be hugely important for the company.

"SRMG generates money almost solely from advertising and generating revenue from advertising, which is of great significance to Anghami," Habib told L'Orient Today.

"In the past, Saudi Arabia had shown little interest in the music industry, and it would have been harder for Anghami to penetrate, but things are different now."

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Anghami launched in Beirut in 2012 and moved to the UAE in 2021 amid Lebanon's worsening economic situation, becoming the first Arab company to be listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange in 2022.

It now boasts 120 million registered users with 100 million songs in its library including Arabic and international music, podcasts, audiobooks, and a meditation service.

The rapid transformation of the streaming service coincides with a dramatic rise in fortunes for live music in Saudi Arabia. This is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's mission of diversifying its economy and presenting more entertainment opportunities for the country's youth.

The General Entertainment Authority has launched Riyadh Season, part of the Saudi Seasons initiative, that has seen a host of shows and pop concerts in the Saudi capital, in scenes that would have been unimaginable a decade earlier.