DUBAI: Imagination, an award-winning design experience agency, has created Saudi Arabia’s first-ever music streaming channel, BEAST TV.
The channel was launched by entertainment company MDLBEAST at the Soundstorm Festival, which was held in Riyadh from Dec. 16 to 19, recording 732,000 total visitors.
The launch of BEAST TV in Saudi Arabia is reflective of the Kingdom’s investment in music, culture and entertainment, said Ross Wheeler, Business Director & Head of Live at Imagination.
“Saudi is changing fast, and this is a perfect moment to highlight, celebrate and share these changes through the rich and diverse music scene, and artists that are emerging in the region,” Wheeler added.
“The Saudis we spoke to at the event — many of whom had traveled back to their homeland for this — were there because it marked such a significant moment, even if electronic music was not their first love,” he said.
The festival was streamed through BEAST TV to 107 countries. The livestream saw the use of live spatial audio for the first time at a streamed festival, providing a uniquely immersive experience.
“Listening to spatial audio on your headphones breathes space into a live performance. Normal stereo is very intimate, like listening to the artist playing just for you in your head, whereas with spatial audio, you feel as though you are at the front of the crowd watching the artist on stage, without any loss of detail or expression,” Wheeler said.
The audio offering included a real-time immersive spatial mix from seven stages, featuring star DJs such as Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Afrojack and Salvatore Ganacci.
“It is the closest you can get to experiencing being at the festival without being there in person,” Wheeler added.
Following the success of its launch, the BEAST TV channel will become a permanent platform, bringing all of MDLBEAST’s live experiences to digital audiences, in addition to other interactive content.
The platform, which has been built for scale, can stream to more than 1 million concurrent viewers. “The aspiration is to become an equivalent to MTV or Red Bull TV in the Middle East,” said Wheeler.
The channel offers both local and international music with a focus on electronic music, as well as “content from the world of entertainment and culture as well,” he added.
Last week, MDLBEAST partnered with music rights company Esmaa to ensure that composers and rights holders are paid whenever their work is played by MDLBEAST. Artists who work with the company’s in-house record label, MDLBEAST Records, will also be paid when their tracks are played by other organizations signed to Esmaa.
“This is a critical and required move, aligning the Kingdom with global music copyright practices, and further demonstrating the country’s dedication to growing its music and creative industries, attracting international artists, and supporting its homegrown, emerging talent,” said Wheeler.
“Alongside the emergence of an exciting new film industry in the Kingdom, this move will ensure that artists and rights holders are compensated whenever and wherever their music is played live or licensed commercially,” he added.
The BEAST TV platform, which is free to use, can be viewed here.