Disclaimer: This is an unbiased review of both platforms, review is not paid for or endorsed by either and is based on UI, UX, content and details.
So, I’ve been a user of Spotify since they started back in 2008. A loyal premium subscriber since the start. I’ve seen the app evolve and try and fail and try again. I also met the makers of Anghami back in ArabNet when they were finding funding and setting base, I actually had a demo account when it started to review it.
No one can deny that Spotify is the leader, the first and the original one. No one can also deny the exclusive collection of Anghami’s Arabic songs or the added features such as the stickers or so.
But, let’s face reality. I received free coupons from Anghami in the first week of April at Step Conference to try Anghami plus for 30 days of unlimited downloads, skips, song lyrics and no ads.
Let’s compare experiences.
Anghami starts on the search tab, showing categories of music – oddly starting with Soundtracks, Morning, Pop, Rock… I don’t know what is this based on, but asking me to “search in any language” and start with soundtracks? when was this category any attractive to start listening to? The app doesn’t talk to me.
I clicked on “explore”, it showed me a banner containing new songs on rotate, again – not based on songs or genres I listen to, scrolled to “Just for You” which is also mislabeled because none of the first 2 playlists songs are customized, they’re already made playlists showing.
Then Anghami recommends, which is kind of like the first banner ads songs. Not tailored again.
Followed by Top International in UAE, which means a good thing actually. The app detected my location and is giving me hits/results based on that. Awesome.
Then Video Expressions, which is an Anghami added functionality that allows you to record a video with a song you like, so more like musical.ly embedded into the app. Smart, or not. I’m definitely not the target audience for that.
The new music (again) and new albums (again and again and again).
Clicking on the “My Music” tab, is actually fine. I have no complaints. Is it clean and neat.
Now moving to “Radios” – the most boring radio tab I’ve seen in a music app, out of them all. and I tried them all, from Beats (renamed into Apple Music) to Deezer. The artwork is too generic, the listing isn’t informative, nor the names, nor anything. It is literally you throwing yourself in the dark, click on a radio and it will play – not giving you any further info.
And I honestly didn’t bother adding friends to try the “friends” tab.
My other issue with the app is the equalizer or sound normalizer, some songs are louder than others and that feature is already available in other competitor apps.
To be honest, I’d only use Anghami if I wanted or was a big fan of Arabic music because of their great collection that can’t be matched and exclusive offerings. Otherwise, I find it not friendly to use. I don’t really enjoy the collection, half my songs aren’t there, it doesn’t sync with my Shazam for some reason and I find it the app buggy. Compare the player screenshots to Spotify and see the difference. I don’t see the merit in having a paid account.
Spotify opens on “home” showing me a tailored playlist based on what I listen to on the app of similar artists to what I played and similar song genres. I usually like half the list if not more. Some of the songs are new and some are old, but they’re all “my taste”. Then it shows me “Jump Back in” where it shows me playlists I own and playlists I liked or listened once before to and reminds me to listen to them if I want to.
Then it shows me “Recently Played” which is self explanatory and then more and more of detailed playlists with innovative names, nice artworks, organized by genres and styles, moods and new releases.
Clicking on the browse tap, it shows me Charts, New Releases, Videos, Podcasts, Discover and Concerts. Where I can explore all of this and even buy concert tickets. Followed by Genres & Moods.
“Radio” is where its very interested, so the app takes your profile picture, makes it into an Artwork and then creates playlists called “Your Daily Mix” based on your songs, categorizes them and makes playlists. Then shows recently played radios, recommended stations.
The “Settings” page is the most interesting with ability to control everything in your app unlike other apps.
Anghami has a looooong way to go before it becomes the “Spotify” of the Arab world, there’s a lot to look at from customization, app updates, quality enhancement and user experience. Anghami needs to craft their journey, fix their graphics, make it appealing, less cluttered. Take what Spotify has and innovate, update and add what matters and what relates and what makes it unique.
Spotify is a solid 10. Anghami, you’re still a 4 (…and I’m being nice).