The IFPI Declares MENA the ‘Fastest Growing Music Region in the World,’ Unveils Plans for ‘First Ever Regional Chart’

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Photo Credit: David Rodrigo

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is now the “fastest growing music region in the world,” according to the IFPI, which is preparing to roll out its “first ever regional chart” for the nations at hand and their approximately 400 million residents.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) today detailed its view of MENA’s growth (as well as its plans for the aforementioned regional chart) via a formal release that was emailed to DMN. Back in March, the organization reported that the Middle East and North Africa had achieved 35 percent music-industry growth in 2021, against 31.2 percent for Latin America and 18.5 percent globally.

Building upon these findings, the IFPI last month commissioned a survey of 1,560 United Arab Emirates residents between the ages of 16 and 44. This study found that the country’s roughly 10 million citizens enjoy an average of 22.5 hours’ worth of music per week (22 percent above the international average), with 54 percent of individuals having stated that they “typically listen to at least one Middle Eastern genre.”

Driving home its (and, in turn, the major labels’) ambitious vision for MENA’s music industry moving forward, the IFPI likewise acknowledged that it has held its Global Main Board meeting in Abu Dhabi for the first time.

Lastly, regarding the IFPI’s announcement, the previously highlighted charts “are expected to launch soon” and will be tested first in Egypt (population 102.3 million), Morocco (37 million), Saudi Arabia (35 million), and the Emirates (10 million, as noted). The IFPI’s regional chart, as its name suggests, will cover all of MENA, though.

Plus, each of the charts “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,” the IFPI said.

Abu Dhabi-headquartered Anghami (which has offices in Beirut, Lebanon; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Cairo, Egypt; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) earlier this week revealed its financials for 2020, 2021, and 2022’s first quarter. According to the performance analysis, the publicly traded platform generated $9.31 million during Q1 2022 (up 23 percent YoY) and $35.50 million during all of 2021 (a 16 percent YoY boost).

Meanwhile, Spotify arrived in MENA in November of 2018, and Apple Music became available to those in Morocco and a number of other nations in April of 2020.

Amid said streaming-service efforts to rack up users and subscribers in MENA, the major labels have likewise moved to establish a presence in the region, including by debuting new divisions, making acquisitions, and spearheading joint operations with established businesses.

Of course, these and other plays in emerging markets come as streaming-revenue growth in the U.S. and Europe appears to be slowing down.