Spotify’s latest recruit to its curation team is an interesting one: Suhel Nafar, who will work out of the company’s New York office and focus on its Arab Music & Culture hub. Nafar is co-founder of Palestinian hip-hop group DAM, and recently worked as the music programmer for the Palestine Music Expo, according to CelebrityAccess.

His appointment comes as Spotify prepares for its long-awaited expansion into the Middle East, with the service still not available in many countries there. In the company’s DPO filing before going public earlier this year, Spotify confirmed that it had leased office space in the United Arab Emirates, and it has also been recruiting for roles based in its Dubai office.

While the Middle East wasn’t mentioned by CEO Daniel Ek at Spotify’s investor day – he said that “we’re working on launching in some of the biggest markets in the world: places like India, Russia and Africa” – it’s clearly on the company’s agenda for expansion. As in India and Russia, Spotify will meet at least one strong local player in music-streaming, Anghami, which had more than 50 million users by November 2017 across the Middle East.

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