Universal Music Group launches Def Jam India

Universal Music Group launches Def Jam India

Universal Music Group has launched Def Jam India, a new label division within India and South Asia dedicated to representing hip-hop and rap talent from the region. 

“The explosion in popularity of hip-hop as a genre in India has increased dramatically in recent years, and the launch of Def Jam India will only help to further solidify and amplify Indian hip-hop and culture on a global scale,” said a statement.  

Devraj Sanyal, managing director and CEO, Universal Music India & South Asia, said: “The launch of Def Jam India could not come at a better time for music in India. Our domestic hip-hop and rap artists are rapidly growing into some of the most exciting talents in the region, taking their rightful space alongside mainstream national and regional pop, and what better home for those artists than Def Jam, the pioneering global home of hip-hop. 

“Def Jam India, will be infused and inspired by local street and rap culture, Indian sounds and unique multilingual flows, which will enable us to introduce new artists across the country and region, and beyond.” 

Def Jam has expanded globally, including in Africa, Vietnam and a UK launch in 2020.

Tunji Balogun, chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings, said: “We’re excited to welcome Def Jam India to the worldwide Def Jam family, following our recent launches in the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia. Hip-hop reflects the pulse of global youth culture and chronicles new stories and voices in real time.

“Def Jam India will provide audiences worldwide the opportunity to discover and experience Indian hip-hop culture at its finest and introduce the next generation of cutting-edge artists emerging from the region.”  

Our domestic hip-hop and rap artists are rapidly growing into some of the most exciting talents in the region

Devraj Sanyal

The first flagship artist signings to join Def Jam India are rappers Dino James (pictured) and Fotty Seven. 

 Adam Granite, EVP market development, Universal Music Group, said: “Indian hip-hop is one of the most exciting and rapidly growing movements in global music today. In recent years we have seen an increase in demand for hip-hop in India, and beyond. UMG has committed to supporting and investing in the next wave of talent from the region for several years and has led the transition towards original artist culture and non-film music. The launch of Def Jam India marks a pivotal point in that transition, as we look to bring Hip-Hop into the Indian mainstream and further expand the profile of Indian music around the world.”

Vinit Thakkar, COO Universal Music Group India & South Asia, added: “We are extremely excited to provide an opportunity to the Indian Hip-Hop talent to showcase their artistry to global audiences. Having led the non-film music revolution in India over the last few years, we will continue with our endeavour across all our labels to be the artist-first and artist-centric label in helping artists to take their music to newer audiences across the globe.”

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