Morocco – Universal Music Group (UMG) this week announced that it had launched new divisions in Morocco and Israel.
The move, which will bolster UMG’s operations within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, also makes the company the first major music rights holder to establish standalone offices in both Morocco and Israel. Its network now spans more than 60 countries around the world.
“Our intention is to provide real support, infrastructure and people on the ground in each country, helping the entire regional music ecosystem grow, and giving local artists the best opportunity to reach new audiences around the world,” Universal Music Group’s executive vice-president of market development, Adam Granite, said.
“These offices will help UMG become a vital part of the regional music ecosystem and to help bring these new sounds and artist talent to music fans around the world.”
Universal Music Morocco will be based in Casablanca and led by local business development executive Serena Safieddine, who will report to Universal Music MENA CEO Patrick Boulos. The company says its Morocco operation will focus on A&R, creative and commercial partnerships, as well as ensure that local North African artists can reach global audiences.
Universal Music Israel will operate from Tel Aviv under the leadership of media business executive Yoram Mokady, who is the managing director of the branch.
Universal Music Israel says it will aim to sign and develop domestic artists and talent, as well as explore creative opportunities for commercial partnerships, new technology and innovation for the artists, labels and partners in the country.
“We are excited to announce the arrival of UMG, the world’s leading music company into Israel, which will provide a welcome boost for the entire Israeli artist community, whilst strengthening the wider music ecosystem within the country,” Mokady said.
This is UMG’s second major expansion in Africa recently. In May, the company launched Def Jam Africa in South Africa and Nigeria. The new label now boasts top African artists including Boity, Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Tshego, Larry Gaaga and Vector, among others.
In other news, UMG and its publishing arm, Universal Music Publishing Group, this week partnered with Lickd to make music more accessible to YouTube creators. Lickd is a service that lets users access royalty-free commercial music for video creators.
The global partnership between the parties will see YouTube content creators given access to a selection of new releases and tracks from the two companies’ music catalogues across multiple UMG territories.