31 August 2023

Acquisition brings exciting artists and labels to UMG and significantly increases its presence in one of the fastest growing music regions in the world

London, Dubai, 30 August 2023 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leader in music-based entertainment, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire UAE-based music company, Chabaka, part of the CHBK Group.

Chabaka provides digital distribution, marketing, publishing, and label and artist services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Founded in 2013 by brothers Ala’a and Tarek Makki, Chabaka, which today also boasts a rich regional catalogue of songs and recordings, has grown through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. With offices across the entire MENA region, Chabaka has to date signed agreements with more than 150 independent artists and local labels across the region.

The acquisition of Chabaka complements UMG’s current service offering and footprint in the fast-growing and dynamic MENA market, which saw growth in recorded music revenues of 23.8% in 2022. It will allow UMG to expand its services and reach within the independent label and artist community. The transaction is another demonstration of UMG’s strategy to increase its presence and accelerate its growth in high potential music markets around the world.

Ala’a Makki, Co-Founder and CEO, Chabaka, said: “These are exciting times for the region, which is one of the fastest growing music markets in the world, and we are thrilled to announce the partnership between Chabaka and UMG. Joining forces with the leading music group in the world coincides with Chabaka’s 10th anniversary and marks an important milestone and a new phase for the company, our artists, and labels. Together with UMG, we will drive the transformation of the regional music industry and take it to new places, while creating new possibilities for our existing and potential local artists.”

Tarek Makki, Co-Founder, Chabaka, said: “A top priority for Chabaka was to select a partner that takes us to new heights while safeguarding our artists’ interests and bringing them new upstreaming opportunities at a global level. Our shared vision is to continue fostering the incredible talents of this region and expanding their reach to a global audience. With UMG’s global platform, expertise, and network and Chabaka’s deep-rooted local experience and presence, we’re all set to bring an extraordinary and unique offering for the market.”

Following the acquisition, Chabaka will become part of UMG’s Virgin Music Group, working closely with the local Virgin and UMG teams in MENA. Through the combination of Virgin Music Group’s pioneering solutions, creative network, and global footprint and Chabaka’s unparalleled regional expertise, the group will be uniquely positioned to build and reach the largest possible audience for talent from the region.

“As we continue to expand our footprint in emerging territories all over the world, Chabaka represents an important creative hub in one of the world’s most promising music markets,” said JT Myers, Co-CEO of Virgin Music Group. “Ala’a Makki and his team bring a level of expertise and knowledge that will enable them to create opportunities for our artists and labels in the expanding MENA region, and in turn, we will be able to grow the global audience for Chabaka’s amazing roster of artists and labels.”

Under the terms of the agreement, key members of the Chabaka team, including CEO Ala’a Makki will remain in their positions and be instrumental in further growing the company across geographies and business lines. Tarek Makki will remain as an advisor while also continuing to lead the other companies within CHBK group. The world-class Chabaka team comes with a wealth of local Artist and Repertoire (A&R) expertise and will continue to build on the company’s unmatched success.

Patrick Boulos, CEO, MENA Region, UMG, said: “The MENA region is one of the fastest growing music markets in the world, representing untapped potential and opportunity. Chabaka is a unique collection of visionary leaders, artists and labels, and gives us both scale and opportunity, especially when combined with UMG’s world leading global platform. I am particularly pleased that Ala’a Makki and his team will join us and drive the next chapter of Chabaka’s success as part of the UMG family.”

About Universal Music Group
At Universal Music Group, we exist to shape culture through the power of artistry. UMG is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content. Featuring the most comprehensive catalogue of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. For more information on Universal Music Group N.V., visit www.universalmusic.com.

About Virgin Music Group
Virgin Music Group is the global independent music division of Universal Music Group, which brings together UMG’s leading label & artist service businesses, including Virgin Music and Ingrooves, under unified leadership and strategy.

About Chabaka Music Group
Chabaka strives to revolutionize the music industry in the MENA region by providing innovative and transparent solutions and offerings to independent artists and labels. Chabaka is committed to promote local talents and enhance their visibility and accessibility to global audiences. Chabaka is part of CHBK group, which also owns and operates Concast and Boomerang Studios. It is a dynamic network of companies at the forefront of digital entertainment content creation, marketing, and distribution. For more information about Chabaka, visit www.chabaka.com

Photo (from left to right) taken at UMG’s London office: Adam Granite, EVP, Market Development (UMG), Tarek Makki, Co-Founder (Chabaka), JT Myers, Co-CEO (Virgin Music Group), Ala’a Makki, Co-Founder and CEO (Chabaka), Patrick Boulos, CEO, MENA Region (UMG).

Photo credit: Jan Jack Klos