Leading Middle East Music Streaming Service ‘Anghami’ Embraces Bitcoin

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Mar 10, 2014 at 11:21 UTC
Updated Mar 10, 2014 at 11:25 UTC

Anghami, the leading mobile music streaming platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has announced that it will start accepting bitcoin payments.

Anghami says it is the first music service in the world to accept bitcoin, although a number of smaller music services have announced plans to accept the currency over the past couple of months.

For its part Anghami will start accepting bitcoin subscription fees and incorporate bitcoin into its ‘freemium’ model. The service is available on all major mobile platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, as well as Nokia’s Asha and Symbian platforms, which are big in the emerging markets.

Alternative payment methods

In addition to bitcoin, Anghami is also using prepaid cards, telecom billing and PayPal, so it is no stranger to the world of alternative payments. However, the company points out that bitcoin offers the lowest transaction fee of all the methods currently available. It has chosen BitPay as its payment processor.

“Bitcoin is still in its early days – especially in the Middle East. But just like everyone was sceptical that streaming [was] the future of music, we believe that Bitcoin is the future of payments,” Anghami’s co-founder Elie Habib said. “Moreover, Anghami being a mobile service, paying via your digital bitcoin wallet is a no brainer.”

Fellow co-founder Eddy Maroun pointed out that bitcoin is getting “major backing” from entrepreneurs and technologists worldwide. He added that Anghami is sending a message that it believes in bitcoin and that it wants its user base of digital enthusiasts to get on board.

Anghami launched in late 2012 and so far it has managed to attract four million users, mostly from the MENA region.

Bitcoin and digital media – a match made in heaven?

Although bitcoin has received a fair amount of coverage lately, the focus still appears to be on wild price fluctuations, turbulence in the bitcoin ecosystem and various sideshows like the events which unfolded in California last week.

While the attention is focused on headline grabbing stuff, the industry is starting to look seriously into the potential of digital currencies in the content industry. Earlier this year PriceWaterhouseCoopers published a very bullish report on bitcoin’s prospects in the entertainment industry.

The Chicago Sun Tribune’s bitcoin pseudo-paywall has also attracted a lot of attention from publishers worldwide. In essence, bitcoin’s low transaction fees and potential for micropayments have the potential to change the way content is monetized.

Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.

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