Abu Dhabi-based Anghami acquires Spotlight Events in virtual entertainment push

Partnership with the Dubai company will make use of VR and AR technology to bring concerts and live events to a bigger audience

The Anghami logo is projected on to Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Anghami became the first technology company from the Arab world to list on the Nasdaq. Photo: Anghami
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Anghami, the music streaming rival to Spotify in the Arab world, has acquired Dubai-based events management company Spotlight as it taps into the virtual entertainment scene to become a fully integrated platform.

The partnership will make Spotlight the live events arm of Abu Dhabi's Anghami, which will use virtual and augmented reality to stream content to a bigger audience, Nasdaq-listed Anghami said on Monday.

“Our vision is to expand from music streaming to a fully integrated entertainment platform that meets our goal of building our own unique category that no other provider can compete with,” said Eddy Maroun, co-founder and chief executive of Anghami.

“This partnership will allow us to deliver unique experiences to our users while giving artists a stage to perform and reach their fans physically and virtually.”

Music streaming has grown in popularity, especially as its cloud-based model enables users to gain access to content on demand, with the option to download tracks for offline listening.

The growth in the number of companies offering this service has also contributed to choice and competitive pricing.

The global music streaming market is projected to hit $103 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual rate of about 15 per cent from more than $34.5bn in 2022, according to Research and Markets.

Advancements in VR and AR are also crucial, with streaming companies integrating emerging technology into their services to allowing users to experience events from anywhere.

It also gives a bigger audience to events that are otherwise constrained to the limits of physical venues.

Last week, Magnati, the payments services arm of First Abu Dhabi Bank, unveiled its new MetaV platform that offers access to live events such as concerts and sporting competitions in the metaverse.

Anghami — which in May reported annual increases in its first-quarter revenue and subscriber base — said the deal will unlock further opportunities for artists and brands to grow their portfolio.

It will also offer exclusives, including private concerts and backstage access.

Traditional and virtual concerts will be accessible either through tickets or sponsored by brands, it said.

The partnership will also give Spotlight access to Anghami's vast user base in the Middle East and North Africa as well as its network of partnerships that would attract more users to events, said Maher Khawkhaji, founder and chief executive of Spotlight.

“Anghami is the largest music platform in the Mena region that, once connected to Spotlight, will open doors to amazing opportunities. Our offline expertise, complemented by Anghami's reach, data and technical capabilities … [will] unleash incredible potential,” he said.

Anghami was founded in 2012 in Beirut, before moving to Abu Dhabi in 2021 as part of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, with the support of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office.

In February, it became the first technology company from the Arab world to list on New York's Nasdaq exchange.

The service has more than 30 million Arabic and international songs in its portfolio, serving more than 75 million users in the Mena region, Europe and the US, according to its website.

It has partnerships with more than 40 telecom companies, including the UAE's Etisalat and du, and is available on mobile, web and car platforms.

Spotlight was set up in 2005 and has offices in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. It covers the GCC, Lower Gulf region and North Africa.

Anghami this year signed an exclusive content partnership with Ney Studios, the music label of Egyptian singer Amr Diab, seen above. Getty
Updated: July 04, 2022, 3:01 PM