Sony strengthens operations in Asia and Middle East, as Shridhar Subramaniam takes new President role

Newsflash: The entire top 10 of YouTube’s popular global artists chart right now perform non-English-language music.

With the exception of four Puerto Rican artists (Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, Ozuna and Farruko), the highest-placed US-born artist on the list is Demi Lovato at No.15. Her impressive 114m weekly plays is dwarfed by the No.1 global artist, Indian act Alka Yagnik, who has over 300m.

At the risk of laboring the point, YouTube’s chart shines a useful light on who music’s real global superstars are today: the world’s biggest artists, ranked by the world’s biggest music streaming platform.

As the US industry looks inward this week with a particularly stars’n’stripes-flavored Grammy nominee list, this kind of reality check matters. And the increasing global power of non-American artists and audiences isn’t just being recognized on chart rankings, it’s being recognized at the highest levels of the business, too – with one of music’s biggest companies bolstering its operations in Asia and the Middle East.

Sony Music Entertainment (SME) has today (January 23) announced that it is changing its structure in these regions, launching new “hubs” throughout Asia and the Middle East, led by execs who report to the company’s leadership in New York.

Perhaps the biggest change associated with this move is the appointment of well-regarded Indian exec Shridhar Subramaniam (pictured) to the newly created role of President, Strategy and Market Development, Asia and Middle East.

“Asia and the Middle East are key emerging drivers of the global music industry and an important part of our current and long-term success. This new structure will enhance collaboration with the regional leadership team to drive our strategic business and creative priorities.”

Rob Stringer, Sony Music

Subramaniam will partner with each Sony Music company throughout these markets to execute strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, investments and partnerships. He will also strengthen strategic relationships with other Sony operating companies and engage in all aspects of SME’s digital and partner development for SME Asia and Middle East.

For the past 18 years, Subramaniam has led Sony Music in India, where SME is comfortably the biggest major record company. Based in New York in his new role, he will continue to oversee Sony Music Entertainment India and the Middle East, adding responsibility for strategy and market development for the Asia region.


Over in China, Sony has more news related to its ‘hubs’ strategy: leading Sony Music’s business in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong will be its Managing Director, Andrew Chan.

Since joining Sony Music in 2017, Chan has signed high profile artists within the region and built partnerships with key digital and mobile companies. Previously, he led One Stop China, a joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group where he facilitated the transition of China’s biggest search engine, Baidu, into a licensed music distribution model.

Elsewhere, Joseph Chang will continue in his role of Managing Director, Sony Music Entertainment Korea. He joined Sony Music in 2015 and has been instrumental in many major K-pop music deals and building new digital partners and business opportunities.

Ariel Fung will become Executive Vice President, SME Southeast Asia. Fung joined SME in 1991 and has held various roles throughout SME Asia and Australia including Managing Director, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea. Realizing the opportunity in the marketplace, he opened the SME office in Vietnam and also began SME’s imprint label in Hong Kong called O.U.R. Works.


In recent years, Sony Music’s activity and expansion in Asia has largely been led by widely respected exec Denis Handlin.

Recent highlights of Handlin’s strategy in these countries include a successful joint venture label with Tencent Music – Liquid State – whose roster includes billion-stream star CORSAK. Handlin (pictured inset) last year oversaw the opening of Sony Music’s impressive new HQ in Beijing, which boasts its own state-of-the-art recording studio.

Handlin, who has overseen the Asia Pacific region for Sony over the last 10 years, will now exclusively focus on leading the future of the firm’s Australia and New Zealand companies. The exec will celebrate his 50th year in the Australian company in May.

“Denis has been very instrumental in our Company’s development in this region and has assembled an excellent leadership team in Asia equipped to execute on our strategic initiatives and expand the progress on our commercial activities there.”

Rob Stringer, Sony Music

Rob Stringer, CEO & Chairman, Sony Music Group, said, “Asia and the Middle East are key emerging drivers of the global music industry and an important part of our current and long-term success. This new structure will enhance collaboration with the regional leadership team to drive our strategic business and creative priorities.

“Denis has been very instrumental in our Company’s development in this region and has assembled an excellent leadership team in Asia equipped to execute on our strategic initiatives and expand the progress on our commercial activities there.”Music Business Worldwide

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