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Spotify's Palestinian launch boosts local artists

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Spotify's Palestinian launch boosts local artists

Spotify's Palestinian launch boosts local artists

Palestinian musicians are fast seeing dividends from their presence on Spotify, the online music streaming app which launched its Middle East service last week.

But local challenges could impact the streaming app's success in the Palestinian territories.

Matthew Larotonda reports.


Spotify's Palestinian launch boosts local artists

If you are a musician in the occupied Palestinian territories, even getting people to hear your music is a challenge.

The introduction of Spotify to the region may be about to change that.

This is Bashar Murad, a Palestinian based in east Jerusalem, an area under Israeli control.

He says Palestinian artists face lots of restrictions, some for example cannot get the right travel documents to perform in another country.

But in Spotify he has a much bigger platform.

Since the music service launched its internet streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa last week, his online followers have boomed from a mere 30 to over 6,000.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN MUSICIAN, BASHAR MURAD, SAYING: "People in the West Bank find it hard to perform in Jerusalem and other areas where Arabs live.

This helps that we are united on social media, through Spotify." The band, Apo and the Apostles, are no strangers to facing challenges to get their music out either.

Its members hail from both sides of Israel's separation barrier.

They say since Spotify placed more focus on Arabic music their listenership is increasing a thousand-fold each month.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN MUSICIAN, FIRAS HARB, SAYING: "Spotify for Palestinian musicians and artists is very important in my opinion because we are reaching a new audience outside of Palestine, we are putting more out and faster." But while artists may be reaching global audiences, for Palestinians using the music service themselves will also come with challenges.

The lack of high-speed cellular services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will limit the app's on-the-go use.

But for those grounded by Israeli travel restrictions it'll give them the chance to discover new music.

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