According to a leaked internal email, Spotify has planned to launch across the Middle East and North Africa in November, with its regional headquarters to be based in Dubai.
The music-streaming giant's latest major global move will see it going head-to-head with a number of its competitors in the region, such as Apple Music and Deezer.
When asked about the news, a Spotify spokesperson told Music Business Worldwide: "Spotify's ultimate goal is to be available in every country, but we don't currently have any news to share on a launch in the Middle East."
However, several pieces of information have come to light that contradict this statement, including a job listing on LinkedIn for a Dubai-based CRM and social manager, and local news reports that Spotify is currently seeking advertisers.
Visit Innovation Enterprise's Chief Strategy Officer Summit in New York on December 6–7, 2018
An unnamed advertising executive speaking to Gulf News stated that the advertising spots on Spotify would likely be sold "within a week". This, according to Gulf News, indicates the "high level of confidence among brands that Spotify will attract listeners when it goes live in November". The email stated that it hoped to charge advertisers around $200,000 apiece.
Spotify currently operate in 65 markets but continues to be unavailable in a number of key market, including Russia and most of Africa. The move shows their intent to spread their global reach into territories with growing numbers of internet users.
Earlier this year, Spotify announced its plan to launch in India, although recent reports suggest that the move would be blocked following a fallout over the Swedish company’s decision to strike direct deals with artists in recent months.
Additionally, by 2023, Morgan Stanley predicted Spotify would have 53 million paid subscribers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, compared with just 11 million in 2018.