17 June 2020
World leader in music-based entertainment launches new creative and commercial hub in Morocco for North African talent. New operations will focus on domestic and regional artists and bolster wider music ecosystem throughout the region
SANTA MONICA / CASABLANCA. June 16, 2020 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced a significant expansion of its Middle Eastern and North African operations, with the launch of Universal Music Morocco, effective immediately.
Universal Music Morocco will operate from Casablanca, under the leadership of local business executive Serena Safieddine, who will work alongside UMG’s existing regional headquarters in Dubai, and will report into Patrick Boulos, CEO, Universal Music MENA. UMG becomes the first major music company to establish a standalone operation in Morocco, adding to its existing network of UMG operations in more than 60 countries worldwide.
Universal Music Morocco will focus on A&R, creative and commercial partnerships. North Africa has produced a wealth of artist talent across a multitude of genres, languages and countries that has seen both traditional Arabic music and North-African hip-hop from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia achieve commercial success and build audiences within Europe and beyond.
The team will work closely with UMG operations around the world to ensure that local North African artists can now reach audiences globally, and will develop key projects alongside Universal Music France, where labels have previously achieved success with French-language artists from the region finding popularity amongst the local diaspora, before crossing over into mainstream chart success.
Announcing the launch of Universal Music Morocco, Patrick Boulos, CEO, Universal Music MENA said, “Our new team in Morocco will help accelerate growth, talent discovery and commercial opportunities for our artists and partners across the region and beyond. Within Morocco and their immediate neighbours, there is a wealth of untapped artist talent and we are excited to introduce these unique sounds to global audiences, platforms and partners.”
Adam Granite, EVP, Market Development at Universal Music Group said, “As part of our global commitment to supporting domestic music talent around the world, we are excited to launch Universal Music Morocco, in order to accelerate our ability to support local artistry and talent within Morocco and across North Africa. Under Serena’s guidance we will look to develop UMG’s operations and activity regional, develop deeper industry partnerships and help local artists reach new audiences worldwide.”
Serena Safieddine said, “I am delighted to be officially launching Universal Music Morocco. We will work with all of our local partners and platforms, and together within the artist community to help shine a spotlight on the great talent from the region.”
Universal Music Group is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of its divisions including CanalOlympia, Olympia Production, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout Africa. Since 2018, Olympia Production has managed the executive production and artist booking for Mawazine in Morocco, the largest music festival on the African continent gathering over 2.7 million spectators in 2019.
Universal Music MENA is home to a wide-ranging roster of some of the region’s most creative and acclaimed artists, including: Abeer Nehme (Lebanon); Lea Makhoul (Lebanon); Dany Aridi (Lebanon); Mohamed El Majzoub (Syria); Mahdi Baccouch (Tunisia); Jihane Bougrine (Morocco); Ahmed Hassan (Egypt); Asfalt (Egypt); Ahmed Gaseri (Saudi Arabia); and Banah (Bahrain).
Over the past two years, UMG has established new divisions within English-and French-speaking Africa, with regional hubs in Nigeria and Côte D’Ivoire. In September 2019, UMG became the first global music company to launch a South East Asia regional headquarters in Singapore whilst Universal Music Vietnam is scheduled to open its offices in Summer 2020.
Through these strategic investments, initiatives and executive appointments, UMG is accelerating the company’s focus on growing the entire regional music ecosystem including recorded music, music publishing, production, live events, brand partnerships and merchandising efforts.