Warner Music signs Saudi Arabian singer Dalia Mubarak – Billboard

Seeking to increase its share of the rapidly growing Middle East music market, Warner Music Group signs Saudi singer Dalia Mubarak, one of the country’s biggest female stars and a leading voice among a new generation of progressive Arabic artists Is.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Warner Music’s first Saudi artist signing since it began investing in the Middle East region nearly four years ago marks a successful year for 31-year-old Mubarak, who earlier this month won Best Saudi Arabian Artist at the prestigious International Arab Festival. Won the prize. Awards (DIAFA) in Dubai and was featured on the cover this summer vogue arab,

Since releasing her debut single, “Turn the Table”, in 2014, the singer’s career has flourished with the gradual opening up of Saudi society following the appointment of the Saudi Crown Prince. mohammed bin salman In 2017, he was made the de facto ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state. His reforms have helped modernize the country of 35 million people, where until a few years ago concerts were banned and ultra-conservative norms prevailed, including the segregation of unmarried men and women in public places.

Historically rife with piracy, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market nearly doubled between 2019 and 2021, and was the fastest-growing region in the world last year, according to the IFPI, with recorded music revenue up 35% Up to $89.5 million. Over 95% of MENA revenue came from streaming, helping to attract the interest of major record companies, who are increasingly looking to emerging markets to find new talent and, in turn, expand their labels’ global reach. Let’s expand. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), MENA has huge potential with a total population of around 430 million people, 55% of whom are under the age of 30.

The happy signing follows a series of investments and acquisitions that Warner Music has made recently in the Bay Area. Last year, the company reportedly acquired a minority stake worth around $200 million in the Arab world’s leading independent record label, Rotana Music, which is part of the Saudi billionaire-owned Rotana Group. Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal,

In March, Warner completed the acquisition of Kanawat Music, a major distributor in the Middle East and North Africa. WMG put down roots in the region in 2018 when it created Warner Music Middle East and opened an office in Beirut, Lebanon.

Mubarak, who sings mostly in Arabic and has previously released music on Rotana, says he fulfilled his childhood dream by signing with Warner Music because it gave him the opportunity and exposure not only in his country but also internationally. provides risk.

“Now everyone is looking at what’s happening in Saudi Arabia, how it’s changed, and I want to be a part of that change and show the world that we have good artists,” says Mubarak. Board, “I want to be the bridge [between Saudi Arabia] and international world.

Mubarak’s music blends contemporary R&B and Western-style pop with traditional Khaleeji music, incorporating Arabic instruments such as tambourine drums and mirwas. She says that the music, which promotes positive messages of women empowerment, reflects the progressive changes that have taken place in her home country.

The singer has amassed a large following in Saudi Arabia and the wider Arab diaspora with total YouTube views exceeding 350 million, according to BoardCounting (her official YouTube channel has just over 600,000 subscribers). Her most popular song is 2020’s “Eli Yamashi 3AD”, which was the artist’s first solo single sung in the Egyptian dialect; It has garnered over 66 million views on YouTube.

According to company filings, the singer has less than 700,000 followers on Anghami, the most popular music streaming service in the Middle East, with nearly 20 million active users. (Warner was unable to provide comprehensive streaming numbers for Happy.)

Mubarak has also performed at several of Saudi Arabia’s biggest music festivals, including the 2019 Jeddah World Fest, where she joined DJ Steve Aoki on stage at the conclusion of the event. (The festival also included performances by Janet Jackson, 50 Cent and Chris Brown, and saw Nicki Minaj make international headlines when she pulled out of a scheduled appearance in protest of the state’s treatment of women.)

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Dalia Mubarak with Max Lusada and Simon Robson, Warner Music UK, November 2022.

warner music

max lusadaThe CEO of Warner Recorded Music, calls Mubarak a “trailblazer for change”, saying in a press release that she “symbolises a new generation of female country artists who are rewriting the rules and bringing success to the entire region and beyond”. winning further fans.”

The singer, who has an American husband, divides her time between the Saudi capital cities of Riyadh and Dubai. “Other singers in the past were not as fortunate to have this freedom and these opportunities, which I am grateful for now,” she says.

Alfonso Perez-SotoWarner President of Recorded Music’s Emerging Markets Explains Board The label intends for Mubarak to be the first of many artists from the MENA region to Warner as part of its overall long-term strategy. Previously, WMG’s focus has been on establishing itself in the region, “getting access to catalog and distribution, and the resources” to help break through and build sustainable careers for Arabic artists such as Mubarak”. Fully equipped to provide “Best Tools”.

Perez-Soto says the best of Warner Music’s worldwide resources are being made available to help Mubarak establish an international career. This includes the artist teaming up with English producers and songwriters for a short period of demo recording sessions in London earlier this month.

The plan, says Pérez-Soto, is that they will “create products and songs that appeal to the Western market,” as well as cater to Mubarak’s existing local fan base by drawing on the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East. Going forward, releases will vary between English-language songs and an Arabic-focused repertoire.

Perez-Soto says she hopes that giving Saudi artists like Mubarak a global platform will help drive more change in a country that is developing rapidly yet draws widespread condemnation for human rights abuses. which includes restrictions on political protest and discrimination against and marginalization of women. group.

The situation is nowhere close to perfect, but the country is making very sincere efforts, he said. [to change] in the right direction and we have to be part of enabling that effort and help make that happen,” says the Miami-based executive.

Mubarak says, “There is no hate in music.” “Music is something beautiful and it creates peace and hopefully we’re going to be a part of that.” She wants to inspire other women in Arab states, including her two young daughters, to follow in her footsteps. “I hope to be their voice,” she says, “to inspire them and make their dreams come true.”

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