Apple Music available across Middle East
Apple brings first major-league music streaming service to the region
Apple's new streaming service, Apple Music, went live yesterday evening, with availability across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.
This marks the first time that a major-league streaming service has launched in the Middle East, with the market mostly having to make do with start-up operations that struggle to gain content rights with music labels. Apple Music's big rival, Spotify, has been notably absent from the Middle East, despite being hugely popular in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia.
However, when Apple Music launched last night with an update to the iOS operating system, iOS 8.4, it was available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Egypt and Lebanon, as well as several countries in Africa. India and countries around it are also able to get the service.
The only major Gulf countries to be absent from the Apple Music launch were Qatar and Kuwait, according to a list that Apple compiled for its website.
However, not every country or region has got full access to the Apple Music service. In the UAE, for example, users have already noted that the Beats1 radio service is unavailable through regular Wi-Fi or cellular connections. Users this morning reported having to use a VPN (virtual private network) to gain access to the global radio station, which is headed up by some of the world's top DJs.
Pricing-wise, UAE users are looking at AED 20 per month for the service, following a three-month free trial period. This is lower than the $9.99 per month that United States users will have to pay.