Unless you’re name is Amr Diab or Nancy Agram, it’s incredibly difficult to achieve any kind of commercial success as an artist in the Middle East. Even the more progressive arms of the music scene right here in Egypt are finding more acclaim abroad than they are here.
It’s understandable, in a way; no respecting Egyptian father wants to brag about his offspring’s latest industrial techno set on Soundcloud.
But with strictly localised music site, Mideast Tunes, that could change – and it slowly is. Created by Bahraini national, Esra’a Al Al Shafei, in 2010, the site proudly states that it promotes ‘music for social change’.
What makes Mideast Tunes different to other music platforms, you ask? The aim of this site – and now app – is to support underground artists in the MENA region and help them gain exposure on an international level. It's not just a platform to upload your music onto; Mideast Tunes actively promotes acts, and with thousands of bands and artists currently listed on their system, many have been picked up by labels.
Currently, there are over 130 Egyptian musicians, producers, DJs and bands featured on the site, including producer and master of disguises, NeoByrd, acoustic teddy bear, Shady Ahmed, and soulful songstress, Dina El Wedidi, among many more familiar and unfamiliar names. Check it out.