(Daily Star, The (Beirut, Lebanon) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 05--BEIRUT -- Local mobile operator Alfa has teamed up with Anghami, one of the region's largest music applications, and is now offering subscribers extra Internet data to stream and download songs onto their phones.
Anghami is a music app targeting Middle Eastern listeners and offering users the choice to stream or download millions of Arabic and top international music on their phones. It's been compared to Western apps such as Spotify and Pandora.
Alfa and Anghami announced the partnership Friday at the Press Club in Furn al-Shubbak, and by Tuesday, 5,000 Alfa users had subscribed to the new plan, Marwan Hayek, chairman and CEO of Alfa, said.
Here's how the bundle works: For a dollar, Alfa will give subscribers an extra 150 megabytes of Internet data to use specifically for music listening on Anghami. For frequent Anghami users, Alfa is offering a larger $4 bundle with 750 megabytes of data.
"It is a unique data package for music that is available at the lowest possible cost to our young subscribers and music lovers," Hayek, said at Friday's launch.
The music-data bundle aimed to target young people, a demographic among which the new bundle has so far proved successful, Hayek told The Daily Star Tuesday.
"As expected, the youth responded very well to the offer; Anghami is well known as a leading music content provider in the region," he said.
Anghami has become the leading supplier of music in the region in less than a year and a half. Two Lebanese entrepreneurs launched the startup and in 2012 were able to grow the application with a $1 million investment.
The application gained 3 million users within the first eight months, though a small percentage of users are Lebanese given the country's small population and relatively poor Internet coverage. Now there are about 150,000 local users.
The app provides the largest music library in the Arab world, according to a press release announcing the bundle. Anghami gives legal access to more than 4 million songs and playlist sharing through contracts with major international and Arab music labels.
"This will provide our subscribers with rich musical content and a unique and distinctive experience through Alfa Anghami," Hayek said.
Some of the Lebanon's fastest and most reliable Internet comes from its 3G network, so the new Alfa bundle has potential to spark local interest in Anghami. To boost interest more, billboards have begun popping up advertising the application with blown-up photos of artists beloved locally, like Shakira and Nancy Ajram.
"We are proud to launch the first music package that offers the most important international and Arabic music content starting from $1," said Eddie Maroun, Anghami's CEO. "This is a precedent with a great deal of impact in the world of music and technology."
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