UAM will create new opportunities to advance Arabic music and culture with global partners, platforms and brands.
Universal Music Group (UMG), has announced the launch of Universal Arabic Music (UAM), a newly created label dedicated to discovering, introducing and championing the artists, sounds and rich musical culture of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region to audiences around the world.
Republic Records and its parent company UMG founded the new label in partnership with music executive Wassim ‘Sal’ Slaiby, whose SalXCo manages the Weeknd, Doja Cat, Brandy, French Montana, Belly and others.
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.
Speaking about the partnership, UMG Chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge, said: “In today’s global music marketplace, we’ve demonstrated time and again that worldwide hits come from anywhere. 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.”
Republic Records Founder and CEO Monte Lipman added: “Sal’s clear vision and blueprint for Universal Arabic Music will become a catalyst for Arabic music in the marketplace. 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.”
Wassim ‘Sal’ Slaiby, Founder and CEO, Universal Arabic Music commented: “It’s been my dream to highlight the talent and culture of Arabic music on a global level with partners that I trust and admire.”
The global audience for Arabic music is rapidly growing, in part due to its rising popularity across social media channels and among the large Arabic diasporas around the world, and also due to its appeal to music fans of all backgrounds. Social media is helping build awareness of new Arabic artists and songs in countries such as the US, Brazil, France, Turkey and across Latin America, where there are large Arabic communities.
Setting the tone for the label’s ambitions, UAM marked the launch during National Arab American Heritage Month in the US, with the signing of the globally recognised artist, 17-year-old Jordanian singer/songwriter Issam Alnajjar. Issam has already topped Spotify’s Viral Global and US Charts and Shazam’s Top 200 Global Chart at #1 with his debut single Hadal Ahbek – with over 3bn views on TikTok.
UAM is building a team of experts who speak Arabic and have a deep understanding of Arabic music and culture. This team will be dedicated to Arabic music and will work alongside UMG’s labels in the US, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, Australia, Mexico—as well as UMG’s existing operations in the MENA region—to discover, sign and promote global artists of Middle Eastern and North African descent and bring them to fans worldwide.