Warner Music Group has announced an investment in the Arab world’s largest independent record label, Rotana Music, which is part of Rotana Group, widely considered the largest entertainment company in the region. According to the announcement, “the deal will expand WMG’s presence in the rapidly growing Middle East and North African region, while driving cross-cultural opportunities for the label’s renowned repertoire.”
Owned by Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, the company is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with branches in Jeddah, Dubai, Kuwait City, Beirut, and Cairo.
More from Variety
At the same time, it was announced that ADA Worldwide, WMG’s label services division, will distribute Rotana releases globally outside of MENA and via YouTube for the entire world.
Rotana’s portfolio includes many of the most prominent artists across the Arab world, including Mohamad Abdo, Abdulmajid Abdallah, Rabeh Saqer, Rashed Al Majed, Abdallah Ruwaished, Ahlam, and other stars from the Gulf region; and Amr Diab, Elissa, Tamer Hosny, Najwa Karam, Shereen Abdalwahab, Angham, Wael Kfoury, Saber Al Robae, and others from the Levant, Egypt, and North Africa.
Simon Robson, WMG’s President, International, Recorded Music, said “The Middle East and North Africa region is among the most culturally dynamic places in the world today, with burgeoning musical scenes and dramatic consumption growth. We’re thrilled to be joining with Rotana, whose significant presence in the market reflects its extraordinary roster of musical icons and outstanding talent.”
Salem Al Hendi, CEO, Rotana Music Holding, added, “This is an exciting time, and we at Rotana are very happy with this partnership, which will facilitate Warner Music’s reach into the MENA music industry and fan communities, just as it will benefit Rotana in our global expansion objective. The creative culture in MENA is so vibrant and diverse, and this partnership will enhance the exchange of music and ideas, while promoting and supporting local artists on the global stage. I would like to congratulate His Royal Highness Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal on this win-win partnership, which is aligned with Saudi Vision 2030 to keep pace with changes taking place globally, including in entertainment and the digital music landscape.”
Rotana is home to Saudi legend Mohamad Abdo and counts among its catalog seven of the artists named to Forbes Middle East’s list of Top 10 Arab Singers – a list curated based on the artist’s brand popularity and social media reach. Among them, Egyptian megastar Amr Diab boasts over a billion YouTube views, while Lebanese icon Elissa was crowned by Brandwatch as one of the 50 most influential figures on Twitter, alongside artists like Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez.
Established in 1993, Rotana Music Holding is the largest record label and music repertoire holder in the Arab world, the announcement states. Its artist management team works with its artists on music production, publishing and rights management, events and concerts, and strives to meet the continuously evolving needs of the industry.
WMG launched Warner Music Middle East in 2018, covering 17 markets across the Middle East and North Africa.
Kacy Grine & Co acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Rotana Music in this transaction.
Best of Variety