Warner Music Group’s acquisition of Qanawat Music to boost Dubai’s status as leading global media hub

The recent acquisition of Qanawat Music, a leading digital music and entertainment company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and a subsidiary of Qanawat FZ LLC, by global entertainment and record label Warner Music Group (WMG), is set to boost Dubai’s status as a media industry hub and an emerging focal point for growth in the digital music sector.

One of the largest deals of its kind to date in the entertainment and digital music sectors in Asia, Africa and Europe, the acquisition is also set to provide an impetus to the transformation of the Arab music industry by amplifying the reach of Arabic content from a regional to a global fanbase and providing wider international exposure to Arab talent.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, said, “Warner Music Group’s acquisition of Qanawat Music is yet another entrepreneurial success story emerging from Dubai that demonstrates the vibrancy of its media ecosystem that has enabled many homegrown ventures to transform their innovative and ambitious projects into reality. Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate offers a highly productive platform for media talent and enterprise to thrive and grow.”

“Over the past decade, a host of Dubai-born companies across sectors have leveraged the emirate’s exceptional entrepreneurial environment to expand rapidly and attract the investment interest of global companies. Dubai continues to provide the business-enabling services and infrastructure necessary for both established companies and start-ups to tap the vast opportunities emerging in the fast-growing markets in our region,” he added.

Since its inception in 2001, Qanawat FZ LLC has transformed itself from its base in Dubai Media City, MENA’s largest integrated media hub, into the largest Arabic music distributor. In 2021 alone, it recorded more than 200 billion total views and streams across digital streaming platforms, including Apple Music, YouTube, Spotify and Anghami, as well as social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, with more than 145 million videos uploaded by social network users.

Following the merger, Qanawat Music’s workforce is expected to grow by more than 100%. As per the acquisition deal, Qanawat Music will function as a standalone company within the Warner Music Group portfolio under the continued stewardship of CEO Adnan Al Obthani. It will be WMG’s key local distributor and a source of upstreaming opportunities, leveraging Qanawat Music’s extensive distribution network and relationship with more than 1,100 emerging and established artists from across the Arab world, including high-profile figures the likes of Hussain Al Jassmi, Ahlam, Saad Lamjarred, Dalia Mubarak and Marwan Khoury.

Adnan Al Obthani commented, “Our merger with Warner Music Group makes is possible for us to enhance our position as the leading digital music distributor and pioneers of creativity in the MENA with the largest and best Arabic entertainment and music content worldwide.

“Warner Music Group has a long-term vision for developing the market here in MENA, and we are certain this new chapter of our story will unveil a world of exciting opportunities for artists, in addition to our entry into new areas of business including the Metaverse, NFT and other creative fields.”

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, said, “For over 20 years, Dubai Media City has worked to provide the possibilities for growth and success for companies and talents in all fields of media. It is this empowering integrated business ecosystem – represented by Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City and the in5 Media start-up incubator – which has attracted over 3,000 media institutions, 34,000 media professionals to become today a source of Arabic content from Dubai to the world.

“Qanawat Music has been integral to elevating and broadening the reach of MENA’s music and entertainment community. Its acquisition by a global conglomerate like Warner Music Group demonstrates the growing demand for Arabic and homegrown musicians to have a brighter spotlight.”

Source: Emirates News Agency