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DUBAI: Leading music and entertainment giant Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced the launch of Universal Arabic Music (UAM), a label dedicated to artists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Republic Records and its parent company UMG founded the new label in partnership with respected music mogul Wassim “SAL” Slaiby.

The label was unveiled by UMG Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge; Republic Records founder and CEO Monte Lipman; and Slaiby, founder and CEO of SALXCO and XO RECORDS, who will serve as founder and CEO of UAM effective immediately.

As the first dedicated global label of its kind, UAM will focus on elevating Arabic music and artists to the forefront of popular music culture, and help shine a global spotlight on talent from the region to break through.

It also aims to create opportunities to introduce Arabic music and culture to new partners, platforms and brands worldwide.

“In today’s global music marketplace, we’ve demonstrated time and again that worldwide hits come from anywhere,” said Grainge.

“There’s so much talent in this part of the world that with SAL’s incredible experience and intimate knowledge of the MENA region, alongside his track record for helping to break global artists, he’ll bring a unique vision, strategy and power to UAM.”

Slaiby said: “It’s been my dream to highlight the talent and culture of Arabic music on a global level with partners that I trust and admire.”

The global audience for Arabic music is rapidly growing, in part due to its rising popularity across social media and among the large Arab diaspora worldwide, and also because of its appeal to music fans of all backgrounds.

Social media is helping build awareness of new Arabic artists and songs in countries such as the US, Brazil, France and Turkey, as well as across Latin America, where there are large Arab communities.

Setting the tone for the label’s ambitions, UAM marked the launch during National Arab American Heritage Month in the US, with the signing of the globally recognized Jordanian singer and songwriter Issam Alnajjar.

The 17-year-old has already topped Spotify’s Viral Global and US Charts, and Shazam’s Top 200 Global Chart, at No. 1 with his debut single “Hadal Ahbek,” which shot to popularity after he posted it on TikTok, garnering over 3 billion views on the platform.

UAM is building a team of experts who speak Arabic and have an understanding of Arabic music and culture.

The team will be dedicated to Arabic music, and will work alongside UMG’s labels in the US, Brazil, France, Germany, Australia and Mexico, as well as its existing operations in MENA.

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