Do you still find it incredibly exhausting to use iTunes download songs on your PC and then sync it to your device? 😥 Your phone probably came with some pre-installed music apps but you haven’t really used it. You finally settle down to listening to your tunes on the radio. 📻
Music streaming services are not new. In fact, most devices come with these apps preinstalled (Apple Music, Google Play Music, etc) but people still use YouTube to listen to songs (which has inspired them to develop Youtube Music in 2015). Some of the renowned international players in music streaming (e.g Spotify) have created base in the United Arab Emirates quite recently. 😯 There are also some incredible homegrown apps such as Anghami (originated in the Middle East) which are getting quite some popularity with customized playlists to match your moods. They also reduce the significant music piracy that has existed for over a decade. (#tbt – the mp3 era 🤭)
As a personal experiment, I took up a free trial for some of these popular music apps. Have a look at these and you could try them out as well. (psst.. some of these have free versions too 😍).
Spotify made its soft entry to the Middle East market in the month of November 2018 and the buzz hasn’t stopped since then. One of the pioneers in the streaming business, Spotify has over 191 million users worldwide. 😱 The app has a free as well as an ad-free, offline listening version offered to its subscribers. It’s the perfect play for a new artist to build up a following. Some even buy Spotify streams to get a head start.
Premium Subscription (per month) – AED 19.99 (30-day free trial)
Recommended Playlist – I personally click the “Mood Booster” playlist that always seems to have tunes ready to fit my mood, and always has the best collection of both old and new songs 🤩
Download it here – https://www.spotify.com/ae-en/download/
Deezer followed the footsteps of Spotify and made its entry to the UAE market in late November 2018. The global music streaming service is now tailored to match the likes of the local audience with a vivid range of Khaleeji music as well as over 53 million global hits. 🎼 Some of the playlists are curated by local music editors and the personalized touch for Arab music enthusiasts has gotten a lot of points in favour of Deezer. They have a 30 day free trial with all of the premium features such as ad-free listening, downloads and offline listening, after which the premium subscription would start. 👍
Premium Subscription (per month) – AED 18.00 (Deezer Premium), AED 27.00 (Deezer Family*)
*for up to 6 devices per month
Recommended Playlist – 1962-2016 SUMMER JAMS, well this one’s got “Boom Boom Boom” by Vengaboys, enough said!
Download it here – https://www.deezer.com
Saavn, most recently rebranded as JioSaavn since it’s merger with Jio, an Indian telecom provider, is one of the top and first of its kind streaming service originated in India. Since its inception, it has gained quite the momentum with a lot of original content in the form of “Artist Originals” – an empowerment step for local artists from all over India. 🎶
JioSaavn calls themselves a freemium service; basic features are free with advertisements or limitations, while additional features, such as improved streaming quality and music downloads, are offered via paid subscriptions. 💴 They also have an integrated social networking service called Saavn Share, that enables you to share/follow playlists of your friends as well as celebrities! 🤩
Premium Subscription (per month) – AED 17.99 (7 day free trial)
Recommended Playlist – if you are a sucker for old Bollywood songs, you must check out the Kumar Sanu Playlist
Download it here – https://www.saavn.com/
Anghami is the first of its kind music streaming platform developed locally in the Middle East. It is one of the largest music ventures out here since 2012, designed for local music enthusiasts. ❤️ They have a large catalog of licensed content from major labels in the Arab music world such as Rotana, Melody, etc. as well as international labels such as Sony, Universal, etc.
The app features a Dolby pulse encoding – this reduces the file size of streamed music for faster and reliable online streaming when the internet bandwidth is fluctuating. 👌
Premium Subscription (per month) – AED 18.30 (Liv Bank users get the first month free)
Recommended Playlist – This is the list of tunes you would want to listen on your ride home, Rush Hour features tracks like Gasolina, Uptown Funk and many more.
Download it here – https://www.anghami.com/
Much like Saavn, Gaana has been one of the top choices with the Indian audience. 🏆 With over 20 million Bollywood, Kollywood and selected English songs, Gaana is home to a lot of localized, original content which has helped them achieve the space they are in today, especially with the regional audience. Gaana has one of the best free services where you can access all of the content, although you wouldn’t be able to download them or dodge ads without the premium subscription. Gaana also as an “Identify this song” feature, much similar to the mechanism of Shazam. 😃
Premium Subscription (per month) – AED 14.66 (30-day free trial)
Recommended Playlist – Be it your BFF’s wedding or your own, this playlist has been specially curated to dance your way to the special day
Download it here – https://gaana.com/
6. Apple Music
Apple Music is one of the founding fathers of the music streaming multiverse and has now spread its wings to other devices such as Android and more. 🍎 Apple is home to millions of songs and playlists and iPhone/iPod users are not unfamiliar to this. Apple goes a step further by delivering exclusive content like documentaries on your favourite artists, concert films, etc. Much like other streaming apps, music can be downloaded for offline listening, as well as streamed from the cloud ☁ for while you’re on the go!
Premium Subscription (per month) – AED 9.99 (Student), AED 19.99 (Individual) and AED 29.99 (Family) – 3 month free trial included
Recommended Playlist – A regularly updated playlist with the best of R&B and Pop Music – It’s quite literally LIT!
Download it here – Google Play, pre-installed on Apple Devices
Soundcloud is quite literally where YOUR music will be heard. You can upload your own tracks, and at the same time, listen to millions of talents from across the globe. Even the best of podcasts exist right here. 😍 Many billboard artists today started their career from this space and despite all the stormy advances by other streaming apps, Soundcloud remains unshaken.
Soundcloud Pro caters to the needs of aspiring artists who wish to share their content at a larger bandwidth. If you are a talent yet undiscovered and want the world to hear you, you cannot miss this one. 👌 The premium version Soundcloud Go is still unavailable in the UAE.
Download it here – https://soundcloud.com/
On an affordability level, all of the premium offerings are at a same or lesser value. But when it comes to value for money it entirely depends on your preferences in music. I personally ended up getting the JioSaavn app for myself as I loved the user interface and the Saavn originals. I alternate between this and the free version of Spotify. If you wish to try out what suits you best, its always advised that you sign up for the free trials, or perhaps just do a roulette with these choices!
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