Music Master, the Dubai-based global music distributor, is hoping to muscle into iTunes territory following the launch of its own music download website.
The site, Music-master.com, will offer fans the chance to download everything from Lady Gaga to Britney Spears, to local acts such as Nancy Ajram, and aims to attract 15,000 members in its first year.
The website will offer a catalogue of around one million tracks priced from AED3 (about $0.81) each, backed by deals with label giants Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner.
It plans to offer up to three million tracks by the end of its first year of operations.
Managing director Saeed Elajou told Arabian Business the site aims to attract 15,000 members within its first year and to at least triple this number in the second year.
"We believe there is an overwhelming demand for a music download service in the region," he said.
The site is already in talks with smaller, independent labels in a bid to boost its Arabic content and “expose local acts to a wider audience,” Elajou added.
The launch will be welcomed by large record companies keen to combat sluggish sales and rising piracy in the Middle East by backing legitimate, paid-for download services.
Patrick Boulos, managing director of Universal Music MENA said the site would strike a blow for “legal digital music distribution” in the region.
“[The site] promises to give the digital music market a major boost," said Abhijit Mitra, chairman of EMI Music Middle East.
The site will be available across the GCC, Lebanon and Egypt, with full albums costing from AED30 ($8.16).
Launched in Jeddah in 1982, Music Master is today one of the largest music distributors in the Middle East, with operations across the Gulf, Egypt and Lebanon.
The firm represents Warner, Sony Music, EMI and Universal Music, and also has the exclusive license in the Middle East for Universal Music.
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