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Popular music streaming service Spotify opens up to Middle East market

Spotify's music library is now available in 13 new markets across Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan
Spotify has curated dozens of new Arabic music playlists specifically for MENA region (Reuters)

Spotify has extended its full library of music to the Middle East and North Africa region, the online streaming service announced on Wednesday.

In a news release, the company said it has launched in “13 new markets across the Middle East and North Africa”.

Spotify will now be available in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the Palestinian territories.

"The Middle East represents what we believe is an untapped opportunity," Claudius Boller, Spotify's managing director in the Middle East and North Africa, told the BBC.

Spotify also said it curated dozens of new playlists of Arabic music tailored specifically to users in the region.

Collected in the "Arab hub", these playlists include songs by artists and bands from Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Morocco and Lebanon among other places.

“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," said Suhel Nafar, Spotify’s senior Arab music and culture editor, in a statement.

"I wanted to focus on moods and moments that are important in Arab culture and history,” he said.

Online services have increasingly tapped into the Middle Eastern market in recent years.

In February, film and television streaming service Netflix signed a deal with UAE-based cable company OSN to allow subscribers to use Netflix through their cable boxes.

Apple Music – Spotify’s main competitor – is already operating in the region, but YouTube’s music subscription service, Premium, is still not available there.

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