Deezer Launches in Middle East & North Africa, Plans Dubai Headquarters

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The Deezer logo is shown on an Apple Inc. iPhone on Dec. 23, 2015.

Two months after Deezer announced a distribution agreement with Arabic music powerhouse Rotana, the music streaming service has launched in the untapped Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Deezer's catalog of 53 million tracks now includes Rotana's extensive catalog of Arabic music and is fully available for listeners in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwai, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as other selected countries.

"We are really excited to bring Arabic listeners a unique and unrivalled blend of the best exclusive Arabic music and the most popular international tracks in one place," said Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht. "At Deezer we understand that people’s music tastes blend local and international tracks."

Albrecht said the company will open a regional headquarters in Dubai in the coming months to help grow in the region, which has been relatively slow to adopt music streaming. "We are confident that [streaming levels] will continue to grow rapidly," he said. "We look forward to being a key part in creating and capturing that growth."

Paris-based Deezer announced in early August that it had entered into an exclusive long-term partnership with Rotana to distribute the Saudi Arabia-based company’s audio and visual content in the Middle East and North Africa.

Added Salem Al-Hindi, CEO of Rotana Audio & Video Group.

"As Rotana is the first and leading Arab music company in the world to have always surpassed many other companies in the digital music world; we realized that it was time to conclude a partnership agreement with Deezer, a world leader in high quality music, in order to reach the largest segment of users in the MENA region and in many parts of the world.

"This agreement will certainly benefit both parties and the biggest and main beneficiary will be the artists who are signed with Rotana, as well as all music lovers in the Arab music."

Spotify is reportedly prepping its own entry into the MENA region, though a launch date has not been announced.