In less than 3 years, Anghami app unbelievably became the status quo for discovering new music in the Middle East.
Hits come out every week, and they’re propagated on the radio, TV, billboard ads, shopping malls, bars, cafes. People also actively search for new music that suits their taste. They follow artists on social media, look up blogs, go on YouTube, search for pirated music, walk into a music store. Talking about artists’ latest releases is also a common topic when hanging out, especially among teenagers. New music is instantly picked up by DJs, and crowds often like a club because of the fresh hits they play.
With all that said, Anghami might be the best place to discover the newest music. This is due to the team doing a great job at collecting new songs as they are released, distilling it to show what’s relevant to each user, and communicating it as soon as the music come out. Users are coming to rely solely on Anghami as their one-stop shop for discovering hot new music.
Anghami gets all the new music as soon as it gets released. At an international level we are on par with other music outlets — it’s very rare that we get a single even a few days late. On the local scene in the Middle East, Anghami is way ahead — plenty of releases by big artists (and small as well) are released exclusively on Anghami, before any other place, even YouTube, radio and TV. Except when we hear the Anghami voiceover on the radio or in a club because they’re playing a song exclusive to Anghami.
With a stampede of new songs coming in, the engineering team does an extensive job distilling and displaying the new music in the home screen so it is tailored to each user’s musical taste. Which new songs should we show to a user? At a basic level there’s the artists a user follows. But we also consider the artists a user played several times. What about a release by a big artist that fits in someone’s musical style? Or hot new artist who doesn’t have many followers but fits well to a user’s style? These cases are a fine line that we iterate on constantly.
Identifying which songs to show is only part of the equation. A big issue is how long a new song should show up for. Since Arabic music is released less often than international music, we keep Arabic songs for longer. It also depends on the user: if they follow many artists and new songs are coming in, then even songs released yesterday might become history. But even if a user doesn’t have many followed artists, we fill out the user’s new songs with other popular new songs that suit their style. That’s because we want to show users that Anghami is alive and has new songs coming in all the time.
Another issue is how the new songs should be ordered. Newer songs show up before older ones. If many songs were released on the same day, we start by the most popular artist. With that said, artists the user follows should show up before merely popular artists, regardless of who released first. This is to engage the user as soon as they open Anghami.
A personalized and ordered set of songs have to be processed for 16 million users every hour, and the engineering team did an expert job at scaling an intensive process to 16 million users.
New songs are not only communicated through our app’s home screen. We identify which songs should be sent as a push notification. Also, Anghami always chooses one new song to highlight in the home screen to make it easier to focus and not get lost in a plethora of options. We also identify which songs should be part of our social media.
With these tools in hand, Anghami created the most powerful platform for discovering new songs, and it’s paying off. Artists are now approaching Anghami to release their song exclusively and benefit from instant extensive exposure. Users love opening Anghami to discover new music. The media is using Anghami as a reference for how fast a song rises to the top. Anghami reached this point after numerous iterations, and there’s still many to come as we keep on finding ways to expose all the wonderful new music.