Record companies are looking to globalize. Universal Music has taken some brave steps in its endeavors to find talent overseas by opening new offices in Tel Aviv, Israel and Casablanca, Morocco.
Image Credit: Variety
Moving into Israel and Morocco makes them the first major music company to open standalone operations in either country.
The company has been working on branching out for quite some time opening offices in Asia back in 2019. This includes a regional office in Singapore which serves as an outpost for their hop hop label Def Jam and electronic imprint Astralwerks.
They also have a network of existing A & R and marketing offices in over 60 countries. One month ago, they officially opened a new hub for their hip-hop label Def Jam Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria. The label plans to continue expanding in the coming years.
However, Universal isn’t the only label moving into other countries. Warner Music made its own international moves opening its first office in Vietnam. (Universal Music is scheduled to open offices there sometime this summer.) Sony Music has also done some overseas expanding.
The record labels’ move overseas has created an arms race for new talent but no label has been as aggressive as Universal. The company released the following statement regarding their plans. The latest expansion “further reinforces UMG’s global commitment to signing and developing domestic and regional talent, while strengthening local music ecosystems and infrastructure.”
Universal Music Morocco will be lead by local business development executive Serena Safieddine. Safieddine has been working with UMG’s Middle East and North Africa divisions for over a year. The office will be focusing on A & R and creative and commercial partnerships. They will be developing initiatives along side Universal Music France who has achieved success with French speaking artists who have crossed over to the mainstream.
Universal Music MENA CEO Patrick Boulos will be overseeing Safeiddine’s operation. He released a quote stating, "Within Morocco and their immediate neighbors, there is a wealth of untapped artist talent and we are excited to introduce these unique sounds to global audiences, platforms and partners,"
The Israel office will be lead by Yoram Mokady, a lawyer and media executive with no previous experience in the music industry. His professional history has been in the development of strategies for cable and broadband services and he is also a radio host on current events talk shows.
In the past, Universal’s Israeli content has been licensed and distributed by Helicon Music. The two companies will continue collaborating on future projects.
Record labels are racing to stake their claim on the overseas talent market. We can only wait and see what this does to the face of the music industry in terms of what we can expect to be listening to on our radio stations and streaming services. It should be interesting to say the least.