Warner Music Group buys Dubai-based Qanawat Music

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Warner Music Group has acquired Dubai-based digital entertainment company Qanawat Music. 

In a move that will strengthen Dubai's reputation as a media industry hub and an emerging focal point for growth in the digital music sector, global entertainment and record label Warner Music Group (WMG) has acquired Qanawat Music, a digital music and entertainment company in the North Africa (MENA) and Middle East. Qanawat Music is a subsidiary of Qanawat FZ LLC.

The acquisition, one of the largest deals of its sorts to date in the entertainment and digital music sectors in Africa, Asia and Europe, is also expected to increase the fandom for Arabic content from a local to a global one and provide Arab talent more international exposure.

Said Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the head of the Dubai Media Council: "Warner Music Group's acquisition of Qanawat Music is yet another entrepreneurial success story coming up from Dubai that elaborates the spiritedness of its media ecosystem and has permitted many homegrown ventures to transform their innovative and ambitious projects into reality."

He continued: "The emirate offers a very productive environment for media talent and enterprise to flourish and grow. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, is the visionary behind this”.

Qanawat FZ LLC is the largest distributor of Arabic music since its founding in 2001.

A total of 200 billion views and streams were recorded in 2021 across all digital streaming services, including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and Anghami. Additionally, there were over 145 million videos uploaded by social network users to social media channels and over 200 billion views and streams across digital streaming platforms.

Al Maktoum said: "Over the past ten years, a variety of sectors' Dubai-born businesses have benefited from the emirate's unique entrepreneurial environment to grow quickly and draw in the attention of international businesses. According to Al Maktoum, Dubai continues to offer the infrastructure and business-enabling services required for both existing businesses and start-ups to take advantage of the numerous opportunities developing in the quickly expanding markets in our area.” 

In accordance with the acquisition agreement, Adnan Al Obthani, the CEO of Qanawat Music, will continue to lead the organisation as a stand-alone entity inside the Warner Music Group portfolio.

It will serve as WMG's primary local distributor and a source of upstreaming opportunities by utilising Qanawat Music's extensive distribution network and connections to over 1,100 established and emerging artists from the Arab world, including Ahlam, Saad Lamjarred, Hussain Al Jassmi Dalia Mubarak, and Marwan Khoury.

Al Obthani said: “The largest and greatest Arabic entertainment and music material worldwide is now available to us owing to our merger with Warner Music Group, strengthening our position as the region's top digital music distributor and creative trailblazers.”

He continued: "Warner Music Group has a long-term vision for developing the market here in MENA, and we are confident that this new chapter of our story will unveil a world of exciting opportunities for artists. In addition to our entry into new business areas like the Metaverse, NFT, and other creative fields," he said.

Director of Dubai Media City Majed Al Suwaidi stated, "For more than 20 years, Dubai Media City has worked to give opportunities for success and growth for businesses and talents in all disciplines of media. This dynamic integrated business ecosystem, which is represented by Dubai Studio City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Production City, and the in5 Media start-up incubator, has drawn over 3,000 media organisations and 34,000 media professionals, and it is now used by Dubai to supply Arabic content to other countries.