Pop star Elissa retires, blames 'mafia-like' Arab music industry

Artist said last year she was "devastated" after her record label Rotana blocked her music from local streaming service Anghami in favour of a deal with rival Deezer
Pop star Elissa retires, blames 'mafia-like' Arab music industry
By Lubna Hamdan
Tue 20 Aug 2019 12:03 PM

One of the Arab world’s biggest pop stars, Elissa- real name Elissar Khoury- has announced her retirement from what she called a “mafia-like” music industry, stating on Twitter that her next album will be her last.

“I am preparing this new album with a lot of love and passion. The reason is that it will be the last one in my career. I am announcing this with a heavy heart but with a lot of conviction because I can’t work in a field that is similar to mafias. I can’t be productive anymore,” she tweeted on Monday.

The Lebanese singer and one of the highest-selling female Arabic artists did not explain her mafia comparison. However, she tweeted last year that she was “devastated” when her record label Rotana blocked her online content from local streaming service Anghami – where she garnered millions of plays - due to a deal with rival Paris-based music streaming service Deezer.

She said to her 13.4m followers at the time: “It’s true. My content is blocked by Rotana because of their new agreement with Deezer. I am devastated to see my efforts vanish after all these years.”

The 46-year-old singer is famous for tackling social taboos and politics in her music, having studied politics at university in Lebanon.

So far, she has sold millions of copies of 11 studio albums, launched her own perfume line and appeared as a judge on television talent shows.

Last year, she gained international praise for sharing her struggle with breast cancer through a music video featuring her radiotherapy sessions. It has garnered 22.3 million views on YouTube since.

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