LONDON: Anghami’s “Sound of Saudi” received an official endorsement by Saudi Arabia Music Commission on Monday after the platform’s contest celebrating Saudi musical talent went viral.

The initiative, launched last October by Anghami in collaboration with the video-sharing app TikTok, gained over 327 million views, with more than 22,000 participants.

The campaign focuses on accessibility and audience reach, two factors that prompted the government body to give the initiative its backing.

“Saudi’s Music Commission is always proactively creating opportunities for all Saudi talent to be discovered and have their art flourish,” Sultan Al-Albazie, acting CEO of the Saudi Arabia Music Commission, said.

“We collaborated with Anghami and TikTok on ‘Sound of Saudi’ because this unique challenge is different from any other in terms of its broad reach and easier access. In a way, we have created the first-ever fully digital talent show in a collaboration with the digital platforms Anghami and TikTok.”

Performers were judged on creativity and imagination in all musical forms, whether singing, composing, producing, mixing or playing musical instruments, with a shortlist decided on by a panel of industry experts and influencers.

Followers on Nov. 9 began voting for their favorite performance and winners are expected to be announced shortly.

Best acts will be selected across multiple genres, with their original tracks subsequently produced by Anghami.

“Endorsement from the Saudi Arabia Music Commission really gives the whole initiative a lot of weight, and showcases the council’s commitment to support and empower rising Saudi talent,” Eddy Maroun, co-founder and CEO of Anghami, said.

“Via our platform, we are encouraging Saudis globally to show us what they can do. The final winners will have their original creations professionally produced, then made available for all to listen to, via Anghami. They will also be invited to perform in key regional concerts,” he added.

Saudi and international celebrities, including singers Zena Emad and Ayed Yousef, Iraqi singer and composer Saif Nabeel, and Emirati artist Balqees Fathi took to the platform to showcase their talent and encourage others to take part.