Arab pop is mainly produced in Cairo, with Beirut as a secondary center. It is an outgrowth of the Arabic film industry, also predominantly located in Cairo.
The primary style is a genre that synthetically combines pop melodies with elements of different Arab regional styles, called ughniyah (Arabic:أغنية) or in English "Arab song". It uses string instruments including the guitar as well as traditional Middle Eastern instruments.
Another aspect of Arab pop is the overall tone and mood of the songs. The majority of the songs are in a minor key, and themes tend to focus on longing, melancholy, strife, and generally love issues.
Songwriting, recording and distribution formats
The road to Arab stardom is very different from in the Western world. Traditionally a certain producer creates the full song from music to lyrics no matter the talents of the performer.
Most music is recorded in studios as is Western Pop music. But also several live albums have been popular such as with Asalah and Egyptian legend Umm Kulthum.