UMG launches Universal Arabic Music headed by The Weeknd's manager Wassim "SAL" Slaiby

UMG launches Universal Arabic Music headed by The Weeknd's manager Wassim

UMG has announced the launch of Universal Arabic Music (UAM), a newly-created label dedicated to discovering, introducing and championing the artists and 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 mogul Wassim “SAL” Slaiby.  

The new label was unveiled today by Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG; Republic Records founder and CEO Monte Lipman; and founder and CEO of SALXCO and XO Records Wassim “SAL” Slaiby, who will serve as founder and CEO of Universal Arabic Music. 

LA-based Slaiby manages The Weeknd along with a roster of artists, producers and songwriters including Doja Cat, Swedish House Mafia, French Montana, Bebe Rexha, Metro Boomin, Belly, Ty Dolla Sign, MIA, Bryson Tiller, Brandy, Ali Gatie and more.

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, while creating new opportunities to introduce Arabic music and culture to new partners, platforms and brands worldwide.  

Sir 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.”    

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 said: “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.”  

Social media is helping build awareness of new Arabic artists 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 with the signing of 17-year-old Jordanian singer/songwriter Issam Alnajjar. He has already topped Spotify’s Viral Global and US Charts and Shazam’s Top 200 Global Chart with his debut single Hadal Ahbek, which went viral on TikTok, amassing over three billion views on the platform.

SAL also discovered and developed 19-year-old Palestinian-Chilean singer/songwriter Elyanna, who first gained traction after posting covers on Soundcloud. Last year, the now California-based artist released her self-titled debut EP and breakout hit Ana Lahale featuring Massari, which has amassed millions of streams to date. Additional artist signings will be announced soon. 

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.

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