How local services in emerging markets are redefining music globally

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A new report from MIDiA examines how the proliferation of music services is bringing global influences to local markets while creating new, more diverse local superstars.

Through Shristi dash by MIDiA

In developed music markets, streaming was the result of the recorded music industry. Creators and labels have released music, and streaming services have created a simpler experience for listeners in already mature markets. In particular, Spotify’s singular focus on user experience has been a significant factor in the adoption of streaming. However, in less developed emerging markets, streaming acted as a stimulus, causing many of these markets to skip the digital music download stage altogether. This has accelerated new local music scenes, resulting in a more vibrant economy for local and regional music creators.

Local services act as cultural catalysts in emerging markets

As streaming entered emerging markets via local, locally focused services first, many new independent artists found a way to reach millions of listeners for the first time. They also found themselves exposed to all kinds of music from all over the world. Inspired by international music and applying their local narratives and sounds, they have helped create new genres and success stories around music like rap in India and K-pop in South Korea.

Thus, in emerging markets, streaming services have served as the foundation for the development of the music industry. They allowed new age creators to create and distribute music on these platforms on their own terms. Local stages play by their own rules, making local cultural and business sensitivities crucial. As a result, the demand for a local repertoire that reflects the distinctive identity of emerging market cultures is often catalyzed by local streaming services.

Rise of new genres and local superstars

Hip hop is a growing phenomenon around the world today. From Dutch rap to rap gully, each new music market applies its own sound to the genre. For example, Mahraganat, a growing genre in the MENA region, is based on local Egyptian belly dance chaabi music imbued with popular international genres like reggaeton, grime, and rap. The diversity of talent and emerging scenes in the MENA region contrasts with the region’s traditional international view of music as “world music” or “classically oriented”. However, perceptions are changing, as illustrated by Issam Alnajjar’s TikTok viral hit, ‘Hadal Ahbek’, which reached No. 1 in Spotify’s Global Viral 50 ranking in February 2021 – showing that a teenager from Jordan can take storming the world.

Diasporas in developed markets such as France, UK, US and Canada, large Islamic populations in other emerging markets such as Indonesia, Pakistan and India and global internationalization of music consumption leaves MENA talent ready for a future global breakthrough. Likewise, the 100Copies Music label has taken many of its artists across the world – Figo, Diesel, Knka and Mahmour Refat are starting to find audiences in countries like the UK and France, globalizing local genres via the streaming.

In addition, the complex socio-political scenario of the MENA region has given rise to new musical expressions. Creators like Sama ‘Abdulhadi and Bashar Murad have become creators raising awareness of socio-political issues through their music.

Local services are best suited to foster cultural diversity in the global music industry

Local services are best placed to understand the complexities of their markets. These markets have greater growth opportunities than developed markets as it will take years for generational change – from technology adoption until streaming becomes a cultural habit. Local streaming services will have a better understanding of local habits and values, enabling them to reach diverse populations within a single market. With data and smartphones becoming more accessible, along with the right product, pricing, features and content, these services can integrate streamers for the first time with the soundtracks of their lives. .

Local services can partner with local independent music – being better placed to lead the local repertoire through partnerships with local labels and creators. Local streaming services have the unique position of creating opportunities for local talent to emerge as international stars through new music scenes.

The uniqueness of emerging markets lies in their emerging market layers within emerging markets. As the industry begins to target a ‘trigger city’, a new one will emerge for years to come. As parts of emerging markets develop, they will redefine popular music just as Afrobeats and K-Pop have opened up new cultures to the world. Local music services will feed what is becoming popular on international services. We are entering the most diverse era of the recorded music industry with the next round of superstars entering the market from different parts of the world. Emerging markets will take the lead in the next set of success stories to come in the music industry.

“Local Sounds, Global Cultures” is a free report on the role of local streaming services in emerging markets by MIDiA Research in association with Anghami. You can download the report here.


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