Western Music

Western music, heard in one form or another (e.g., hip hop, pop, country, etc.), is listened to by nearly half of all music listeners in the MENA region (42%), but enjoys greater popularity in Saudi Arabia and the UAE (64% and 56%) than in the other four countries. Western music has earned little market penetration in Egypt, where fewer than one in ten listen to this music (and in fact any music except Egyptian). Western music is slightly more popular with men than women, and also with younger listeners. Listening to Western music is associated with those having higher levels of education; very few of those with primary education listen to Western music at all. Understandably, expatriates from the U.S. and Europe are committed listeners to Western music (97%) and six in ten Asian expats listen to this music as well. Comparatively, a third of nationals and Arab expats in the six countries listen to Western music (34% and 37%, respectively).

No particular sub-genre of Western music dominates choices in the MENA region, with classical, hip hop, rap, and other popular music attracting audiences about equally. One-quarter of listeners in Saudi Arabia enjoy hip hop and rock music, while popular music is most popular in the UAE (25%) and Western classical music in Lebanon (24%). Western and Arabic classical music attract similar size audiences across the six countries surveyed.