Digitality and Music Streaming in the Middle East: Anghami and the Burgeoning Startup Culture
This article examines the digital turn in entertainment media industries, with particular attention to music streaming in the Middle East. It delineates the contours and workings of an emergent “ecosystem” that underpins the music industry in the region. While recognizing that regional platforms develop and adopt technological innovations that echo global trends, the article highlights the unique ways they respond to local market needs, navigate sociocultural factors, and capitalize on audience fragmentation. Using the case of Anghami, the article argues that this burgeoning startup culture—which is characterized by mobile, social, and direct-to-consumer services—is disrupting established radio and recording industry practices, redefining stakeholders, and creating more connected digital communities. The broader aim of the article is to unravel the nature of digital adaptations and transformations in the Middle East and better understand the complexities and disjunctures that characterize the emergence, adoption, and experience of digitality in the region.