SRMG Ventures, the venture capital arm of Ryadh-based conglomerate Saudi Research and Media Group, has announced a small but significant $5 million investment in Anghami, which is the Arab world’s rival to Spotify.
SRMG Ventures in a statement said that, besides the investment, it will be providing the Middle East music and entertainment streamer its “extensive media reach, content library and portfolio of leading assets in audio/podcasts.” It claims this will enable Anghami to snag a larger share of the fast-growing music streaming sector expected to “reach $700 million in the Middle East and North Africa in 2026.”
As part of the agreement, SRMG will be invited to join Anghami’s board of directors and will have the option to increase its investment in the music streaming service going forward.
Anghami, which was founded in 2012 in Beirut, last February became the first tech company from the MENA region to be list on New York’s Nasdaq exchange.
Since its launch, Anghami has expanded its portfolio beyond music streaming. It now provides in-house productions, branded music and video content, concerts and live events, as well as a record label for Arab artists and podcasts.
The music and entertainment streaming service currently has 120 million registered users – up from 75 million in 2021 – and a catalogue of more than 100 million songs, according to the statement. In March Anghami reported that it ended 2022 with 1.52 million total paying subscribers, a 21% increase compared to 2021.
SRMG in June partnered with Billboard to launch Billboard Arabia, which includes Arab music charts and awards and aims to spotlight artists with Arab roots and raise awareness of Arab music talent around the world.
Its investment in Anghami is clearly in synergy with its prior Billboard investment and part of a broader strategy.
“Audio consumption is growing fast in the MENA region,” said Jomana R. Al-Rashid, chief executive of SRMG, noting that last year, “the [regional] market size for audio increased by 35%.”
“This demand coupled with the commercial opportunity it presents makes digital audio and media one of the investment priorities for SRMG Ventures,” she added. Al-Rashid also underlined that “these opportunities are also demonstrative of our strategy and commitment to support and develop the media ecosystem.”
“Working together with SRMG, a leader and innovator in regional media, Anghami will be able to unlock further opportunities to champion the music ecosystem,” said Eddy Maroun, co-founder and chief executive of Anghami.
SRMG Ventures’ previous investments in local entertainment industry startups include taking stakes in expanding Saudi film and TV studio Telfaz11 and Vuz, a leading VR-enabled social media application.
Editor’s Note: SRMG, a Saudi Arabian publishing and media company, which is publicly traded, is a minority investor in PMC, Variety’s parent company.