Education, Pond5 Playlist

Arabic Pop: A Harmonious Fusion of Tradition & Modernity


Electric guitar and synthesizer riffs mixed with the plucking of an oud or the rhythms of a riq are the sounds of the genre known as Arabic pop. Commonly referred to as “Arab pop” or “Middle Eastern pop,” this genre blends traditional Arabic music’s rich heritage with Western pop’s infectious beats and melodies. Arabic pop music resonates with audiences worldwide, from its humble origins to its modern-day influence. Deep dive into Arabic pop’s distinctive and rich sounds and enrich your project with its captivating melodies.


History of Arabic Pop

Pop music is, by definition, made to be popular for the masses. In the 1950s, the world underwent immense changes post-World War II. Political strife and the introduction of mass media on a global scale began to change popular music in the Middle East. Just before this era, the most famous artist in the Middle East was Umm Kulthum, whose songs were in characteristic Arabic style. Several were long enough to be measured in hours rather than minutes. During these changes in the 1950s, the first wave of Arabic Pop artists emerged. Artists like Egypt’s Abdel Halim Hafez drew inspiration from non-traditional musical genres such as jazz and cabaret, akin to his American counterpart Nat King Cole. The popular songs of the time also became more Westernized in length, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes.

In the 1970s, with the popularity of Western disco groups and the death of early artists like Kulthum, modern Arabic Pop music began to rise. The genre has continued to evolve through the final two decades of the twentieth century alongside Western pop. During this period, Lebanon developed into a hub of culture and a center for music production in the Arab world, and its musicians significantly influenced the sound of modern Arabic pop.

Over the last 20 years, many Arabic Pop artists like Nancy Ajram, Diana Haddad, and Assi El Hallani gained fame through televised variety shows or singing competitions.


Contemporary Arabic Pop

Modern-day Arabic Pop continues to influence and be influenced by popular media. Today’s stars are discovered or promoted to worldwide audiences through social media sites like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Social media influencers with millions of followers are furthering the promotion of Arabic Pop artists by sharing their favorite tracks and artists with their fanbase.

Experimentation is essential in this genre to stay on top. Artists are combining different genres and varying their techniques in the new millennium. Arabic pop songs now frequently incorporate elements of Latin music, hip-hop, and electronic dance music (EDM). The result is a vibrant and avant-garde musical environment. Collaborating with international stars is another way the genre finds an audience beyond the Middle East. For example, Nancy Ajram teamed up with DJ Marshmello on the hit single “Sah Sah,” which combined her vocals in Arabic with his electronic beats, with great success. Arabic pop remains a prominent and influential genre in the Arab world and continues to gain popularity worldwide.


3 Tips on Where and How to Use Arabic Pop Tracks

Take inspiration from social media content creators and use Arabic Pop for practically anything.

    1. Accentuate your make-up tutorial or ad. Try the smooth sounds of Arabian Music (Desert Sahara Middle East Arabic Background Intro Theme). Or you could take the suggestion from the title and use it as an intro theme for your project.
    2. Incorporate Arabic pop into your documentary. A nightlife scene in Beirut or scripted project could benefit from the resounding beats of this song, Arabic Dance.
    3. Arabic Pop has a strong focus on romance. The perfect song to set the mood is the appropriately named Arab Wedding.

These are a few examples of ways to use Arabic Pop tracks to enhance your next project. Let your imagination and creativity guide you.

Arabic Pop combines traditional sounds from Eastern music with evolutionary sounds from Western pop for a modern, worldly new genre. A Pond5 music subscription gives you access to original Arabic Pop tracks. Don’t get left behind.