Gone are the days of browsing record stores and complex stereo systems—this is the era of the streaming platform, and this last year especially has seen the online consumption of music skyrocket. Record sales have been replaced by follows, downloads, and views.
This has led to booming revenues for the streamers. As of March 17, 2021, Spotify had a market value of $54.4 billion. Meanwhile Deezer was valued at $1.4 billion as of July 2020. In the Middle East, leading home-grown streaming service Anghami is about to list on the U.S. stock exchange, Nasdaq, at a valuation of $220 million.
Our list of the Middle East’s top Arab music celebrities highlights 50 of MENA’s most streamed and followed active singers, bands, and rappers that dominated the Arabic music industry in 2020.
The list was dominated by Egyptian artists with 20 entries, followed by Lebanese with 12. Adham Nabulsi was Jordan’s sole entry, ranking among the 10 most-streamed Arab singers on Anghami last year. Meanwhile, rapper Balti was Tunisia’s only entry, with more than 1.3 billion views on YouTube.
Unsurprisingly, Egyptian veteran superstar Amr Diab was last year’s most-streamed Arab singer in MENA on Anghami, Deezer, and Spotify. And Lebanese songbird Nancy Ajram was the most followed singer on social media, with more than 71 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred is the most followed on YouTube, with more than 12.4 million subscribers to his channel.
To help construct this list, Anghami and Deezer both shared some detailed data with us. We looked at the top 50 most-streamed active singers and artists on both platforms between January 1 and December 31, 2020, as well as numbers of YouTube views and subscribers, and social media followers.
We have presented this non-ranked list in alphabetical order according to the English alphabet and using either the individual’s first name or the stage name they are known by.