New research confirms the Middle East and North Africa as thriving music region


May 19, 2022

IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, has today announced that music streaming charts are in development for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including IFPI’s first ever regional chart. The charts, which are expected to launch soon, will be the first for music in the area and demonstrate the industry interest in the thriving music region.  

News of the forthcoming regional charts in MENA follow the release of this year’s Global Music Report, published by IFPI in March, which found that recorded music market revenues in MENA grew by 35% in 2021, confirming it to be the fastest-growing region in the world.  The figures also show that the market is made up of predominantly streaming which represents 95.3% of the region’s revenues.  

The charts are currently being tested in four key countries – Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – alongside a first-of-its-kind regional chart for the MENA region. They will be a result of direct, collaborative partnerships between the industry and the five largest streaming services in MENA – Anghami, Apple, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube.  

To accompany the news of the charts and to further demonstrate the industry’s interest in the region, IFPI has also conducted new research which shows that people living in the UAE listen to an average of 22.5 hours of music a week, 22% higher than the global average.  The study, which explored music engagement by those aged 16-44 in the country, also found that 54% of people typically listen to at least one Middle Eastern genre.

Commenting on the research and the opportunities for the UAE music industry, IFPI Chief Executive, Frances Moore said: “Both the research and the upcoming charts serve to demonstrate the passion music fans have for music here in the region. We are seeing how the presence and investment of record companies in the area and their work to develop and support local artists is driving positive developments in the music ecosystem.”  

IFPI’s Regional Director, Middle East & North Africa, Rawan Al-Dabbas added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for music in the region. The forthcoming regional charts combined with the industry’s focus and investment in MENA going forward goes to demonstrate the exciting future for music in the region.  

“There are challenges; for example, unlicensed music is an issue in the region, and IFPI and our member companies are committed to working with governments here in MENA to tackle this and ensure that licensed music has a secure foundation from which to continue its exciting growth story.”

The research, along with news of the charts, comes as IFPI concludes its Global Main Board meeting which, for the first time, has been held in Abu Dhabi this week. Senior executives from IFPI and global major and independent record companies have been discussing the opportunities for the rapidly evolving music market in the Middle East and North Africa. Last year, UNESCO Creative Cities Network officially designated Abu Dhabi as a ‘City Of Music’, recognising it as a place where music and the wider culture and creative industries are at the heart of sustainable development plans.  

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