Global giant Warner group moves to top Arab music label Rotana’s tune
Other than surging adoption of digital tech, moving towards a smart future has also triggered a cultural transformation in the Middle East. Largely considered conservative in its approach, Saudi Arabia has been through a sea of change in the second half of the past decade with entertainment and music becoming more accessible for young people.
With 51% of the population aged below 25, it isn’t surprising that the biggest music label in the region has emerged from the kingdom. Billionaire prince Al Waleeb bin Talal’s firm Rotana Music has become the top brand for Khaliji and Arabic music, and its success has struck a chord with global brand Warner Music.
Looking to tune into the rising demand for music and entertainment in the Arab world, the Warner Group has picked up a stake in the regional favourite Rotana. The investment estimated at $200 million gives Warner Music a window into the evolving Middle Eastern market, while it opens up horizons for Rotana to take diverse music from the Arab neighbourhood to global audiences.
Saudi Arabia going on to host popular global artists like BTS and organising music festivals, reflects a drastic cultural shift within just five years. Its neighbour the Emirates has been a major attraction for international musicians, and was recently picked as the stage for a virtual concert by David Guetta.
In the connected age, online streaming platforms have amplified the voice of global and local musical talent for listeners in the Middle East. Lebanon’s Anghami became the first Arab digital service to capitalise on the rising music consumption back in 2012, much before the global leader Spotify entered the region in 2018.
When it comes to streaming, Rotana has seen its fair share of online exposure through its partnership with French digital music platform Deezer.
The developments have worked in favour of Arab talent seeking global exposure, as Egyptian rapper Mohamed Ramadan was promoted at New York’s iconic Times Square last year. Female artists from the region have also found encouragement via campaigns like Spotify’s Sawtik