By Alex Delmar-Morgan
EXCLUSIVE: Networking, music website launches in Bahrain end-March.
A new social networking site which allows users to download music and videos will launch in Bahrain later this month.
Aimed mainly at an Arab audience, UrFilez will be rolled out across the Middle East over the next three months, and then into African and Asian markets such as Nigeria and India.
It is being dubbed an iTunes meets Facebook for the Middle East, and aims to exploit the rapidly growing mobile phone and broadband markets across the region.
Founder Hassan Miah, a Detroit born technology entrepreneur who previously ran the new media department at Hollywood’s largest talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, hopes to have 500,000 users by the end of the year.
Customers, who will be able to download and pay for content using their mobile phones, will initially have access to 40,000 Arabic songs including hits from top selling Middle Eastern artists such as Egyptian singer Amr Diab and Lebanese pop star Nancy Ajram.
Many western artists, spanning genres such as hip hop, rock and pop will be available for download later in the year, with the database of songs growing to two million.
The site will strongly promote Arab music and will feature a ‘virtual’ record label to sign and develop artists through UrFilez and other events.
Songs will cost $0.99 and music videos, when they become available in May, will be priced between $2 to $3.
Miah said that if UrFilez reaches it target audience of 500,000 users by the end of the year, he expects sales to hit $10m in the first 12 months.
It launches in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in June.
Read the full interview with Hassan Miah in this Sunday's Arabian Business magazine.