Sony Music, Anghami Form Arabic Record Label With a Global Scope
Sony Music Middle East and top Arab music streamer Anghami have teamed up to launch Vibe Music Arabia, a new joint-venture record label designed to support the Arabic artist community in Saudi Arabia and the Levant and wider GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) regions.
The wholly independent label, which was first announced at MDLBEAST’s XP Music Conference in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, this week, “will act as a creative, accelerator and educational hub” aimed at empowering Arabian musicians, songwriters, producers and content creators both regionally and globally, according to a press release. Music put out by Vibe Music Arabia will be released on all streaming platforms and services around the world in an effort to score breakthroughs for its artists in countries outside the Middle East.
Taking the helm of the new venture is Rami Zeidan, who assumes the role of general manager following a nearly two-year stint as head of TikTok MENA’s video and creative division. Zeidan previously held roles at Anghami, where he ascended to vp partnerships and special projects over a more than four-year run, and global media agency OMD MENA. In a statement, Zeidan said the goal of Vibe Music Arabia is “to be a creative and enabling hub, and to build a dialogue within the community to teach, learn and help young talent grow” while working “towards shaping a new era for Arabic music.”
One of Vibe Music Arabia’s first signees is producer Abdul Aziz Louise, who is known for “reshaping the sound” of Khaleeji music via productions for artists including Balqees (“Entaha”) as well as Bader Al Shuaibi and Haneen al Kendari, whose track “Bravo Aleih” garnered over 90 million views across platforms and more than 200 million streams overall, according to the release. Also joining the roster is emerging Saudi singer Zena Emad, who boasts over a million followers on Instagram and is working on her first single release for the label.
In a statement, Shridhar Subramaniam, Sony Music Entertainment president corporate strategy and market development, Asia and Middle East, said that Vibe Music Arabia will combine Sony Music’s “unrivalled regional teams with dedicated resources and Anghami’s best-in-class services and technology” to help Arabic artists cultivate a global platform.
Added Anghami co-founder and CEO Eddy Maroun, “We see so many talented artists and songs emerge daily from this region and believe there is a real opportunity for a boutique label to foster these fast-growing music communities and help develop their craft.”
The Vibe Music Arabia announcement comes nearly two years after Sony Music opened a Middle East hub (overseen by Subramaniam) to more directly connect its operations in the region with the company’s New York-based leadership team. Its moves in the region have been echoed by the other majors: This past April, Universal Group’s Republic Records and The Weeknd manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby launched Universal Arabic Music, a label focused on cultivating talent in the Middle East and North Africa. And in Feb. 2018, Warner Music Group established Warner Music Middle East out of Beirut, Lebanon with Moe Hamzeh appointed to oversee the operation as managing director.