DUBAI: Middle Eastern streaming app Anghami has launched Live Radio, a new feature that allows users to speak and listen in real-time.
Developed in-house by Anghami, this is the first time that a streaming service is enabling users and contributors to create a social audio experience for sharing music and conversation in this format.
Available on both iOS and Android devices, the feature allows users to talk while any audio — songs, playlists and podcasts — is being played. Users can also participate by using features such as applauding the host, sending text comments and engaging in side-chats.
Elie Habib, co-founder and chairman of Anghami, said that the “social element” of music had always been part of Anghami’s vision and was even part of its original business pitch back in 2011.
The company has been integrating social features such as stories and chats since 2017, and “now we are leading the way in delivering the next level of social audio to our users and our contributors,” Habib added.
Anghami launched Live Radio in beta in mid-2020, featuring text chats and other functionalities ahead of the full launch, which now includes voice chat as well. Data from the beta phase shows that active social users have a 30 percent higher retention rate, and social users overall stream 33 percent more average daily seconds than a standard active user.
The launch of Anghami’s Live Radio is indicative of the growth of audio in the social media sphere. Last year, Twitter started allowing audio tweets and has now launched Spaces, which allows users to host and participate in live audio conversations. Similarly, the invitation-only social app Clubhouse, which became massively popular, allows only audio formats for users to hold virtual conversations and chats. Discord, primarily a gaming platform, also pivoted to become an audio platform for everyone, even changing its tagline to “Your place to talk.”
The pandemic, which resulted in people spending more time on digital screens, led to screen fatigue as well as a lack of intimacy and personal connection. Audio formats address both of these concerns by allowing users to go hands-free and have more intimate conversations while remaining socially distant.
Habib said: “With the pandemic keeping people at home and apart, the intimacy of voice and the need to be closer to others has become more valuable, and we expect to see the social audio market realize significant growth.”