Gov't launches new Hebrew music streaming app

'Shiri' is available free worldwide and includes more than 40,000 Hebrew songs.

 A look at the main screen of the 'Shiri' app (photo credit: screenshot)
A look at the main screen of the 'Shiri' app
(photo credit: screenshot)
The Culture and Sport Ministry launched a new app on Monday for streaming Hebrew music. The free app, called Shiri, was put together in conjunction with the National Library of Israel and the music nonprofit Finjan.
The Culture Ministry said it was making the app available – advertisement-free – to the general public “with the goal of conserving and preserving Israeli music throughout the generations.” The ministry said that the application “provides royalties equally to creators, record companies and performers.” And unlike many of the other music streaming apps – like Spotify and Apple Music – users are able to skip songs they don’t like without limitations.
Users who download the app – available for both iPhone and Android by searching Shiri in Hebrew – are asked to pick up to three Israeli artists whose music they enjoy to get started. “From there I’ll understand your direction, and play songs by them and a lot of other Israeli songs that I think you’ll love,” the app reads. From there, users can “like” or “dislike” songs the app plays for you based on your preferences, allowing it to further glean your musical tastes. You can also direct the app to “surprise you” either a little, sometimes or a lot.
The app’s notes add that: “P.S. When you listen to Israeli music via this app, the artists that you love are compensated more than any other app.”
Shiri “combines veteran artists with new artists, exposing users to new music they don’t already know,” the ministry said. “The application provides an answer to the great difficulty of young artists reaching the general public, and also enables young audiences to be exposed to veteran artists.” The app already includes around 1,000 artists and more than 40,000 songs, and its creators say more will be added in the future.
The ministry and the National Library said the app doesn’t allow building playlists, but rather uses algorithms to supply users with songs from its database.
Users of the app will find popular current singers like Omer Adam, Static and Ben-El and Shiri Maimon alongside more classic performers including Naomi Shemer, Arik Einstein and Shalom Hanoch.
The ministry said the application is available to users free worldwide, and users in North America confirmed Monday that it was accessible. The app’s interface is currently only available in Hebrew.