UMG VENTURES TO THE MIDDLE EAST

Republic Records and Universal Music Group are getting behind Wassim “SAL” Slaiby’s idea for a label dedicated to the music of the Middle East and North Africa, creating Universal Arabic Music.

Slaiby, founder of XO and manager of The Weeknd, is UAM’s CEO;17-year-old Jordanian singer/songwriter Issam Alnajjar and 19-year-old Palestinian-Chilean singer/songwriter Elyanna are the first signings.

“In today’s global music marketplace, we’ve demonstrated time and again that worldwide hits come from anywhere,” UMG Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge said. “There is so much talent in this part of the world that, with Sal’s incredible experience and intimate knowledge of the MENA region, alongside his track record for helping to break global artists, he will bring a unique vision, strategy and power to Universal Arabic Music.”

As the first dedicated global label of its kind, UAM will focus on elevating Arabic music and artists to the forefront of popular music culture and help shine a global spotlight on the next wave of artists and talent from the region to break through, while creating new opportunities to introduce Arabic music and culture to new partners, platforms and brands worldwide.

“SAL’s clear vision and blueprint for Universal Arabic Music will become a catalyst for Arabic music in the marketplace,” Republic Records Founder and CEO Monte Lipman said. “His ability to identify, curate and deliver talent globally remains a force of nature. The cultural importance of music from the MENA region crossing boundaries and reaching all corners of the world is long overdue.”

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