Universal Music Group (UMG) has acquired Chabaka Music, a UAE-based music company specializing in digital distribution, marketing, publishing, and artist services across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The company said the move expands UMG’s reach in one of the world’s fastest-growing music sectors, according to a press release on Wednesday (August 30).
Founded in 2013 by brothers Ala’a and Tarek Makki, Chabaka has partnered with over 150 independent artists and local labels to date.
Chabaka is part of the wider CHBK Group, which also owns and operates Concast and Boomerang Studios.
UMG said the acquisition aligns with its strategy of tapping into high-potential music markets globally. In 2022, according to the IFPI, the MENA region registered a 23.8% YoY growth in recorded music revenues.
Universal already has a presence in the MENA region. In 2021, it teamed up with music manager and entrepreneur, Wassim “SAL” Slaiby to launch Universal Arabic Music with an aim to “create new opportunities to advance Arabic music and culture with global partners, platforms and brands.”
Last year, UMG promoted Frédéric Voillemot to CFO and EVP of Business Development for Africa, Middle East & Asia.
Following the acquisition of Chabaka, the latter company will become part of UMG’s Virgin Music Group and will work closely with the local Virgin and UMG teams in MENA.
Key members of the Chabaka team, including CEO Ala’a Makki, will retain their positions. Tarek Makki will serve as an advisor while continuing his leadership within the CHBK Group.
“Chabaka is a unique collection of visionary leaders, artists and labels, and gives us both scale and opportunity, especially when combined with UMG’s world leading global platform.”
Patrick Boulos, Universal Music Group
Patrick Boulos, CEO, MENA Region, UMG, said: “The MENA region is one of the fastest growing music markets in the world, representing untapped potential and opportunity. Chabaka is a unique collection of visionary leaders, artists and labels, and gives us both scale and opportunity, especially when combined with UMG’s world leading global platform. I am particularly pleased that Ala’a Makki and his team will join us and drive the next chapter of Chabaka’s success as part of the UMG family.”
Commenting on the deal with Chabaka, the latter’s co-founder and CEO Ala’a Makki said: “These are exciting times for the region, which is one of the fastest growing music markets in the world, and we are thrilled to announce the partnership between Chabaka and UMG.”
“With UMG’s global platform, expertise, and network and Chabaka’s deep-rooted local experience and presence, we’re all set to bring an extraordinary and unique offering for the market.”
Tarek Makki, Chabaka
Added Makki: “Joining forces with the leading music group in the world coincides with Chabaka’s 10th anniversary and marks an important milestone and a new phase for the company, our artists, and labels. Together with UMG, we will drive the transformation of the regional music industry and take it to new places, while creating new possibilities for our existing and potential local artists.”
Chabaka Co-Founder Tarek Makki added: “A top priority for Chabaka was to select a partner that takes us to new heights while safeguarding our artists’ interests and bringing them new upstreaming opportunities at a global level.”
“Our shared vision is to continue fostering the incredible talents of this region and expanding their reach to a global audience. With UMG’s global platform, expertise, and network and Chabaka’s deep-rooted local experience and presence, we’re all set to bring an extraordinary and unique offering for the market.”
“As we continue to expand our footprint in emerging territories all over the world, Chabaka represents an important creative hub in one of the world’s most promising music markets.”
JT Myers, Virgin Music Group
JT Myers, Co-CEO of Virgin Music Group, said: “As we continue to expand our footprint in emerging territories all over the world, Chabaka represents an important creative hub in one of the world’s most promising music markets.”
“Ala’a Makki and his team bring a level of expertise and knowledge that will enable them to create opportunities for our artists and labels in the expanding MENA region, and in turn, we will be able to grow the global audience for Chabaka’s amazing roster of artists and labels.”
Nada Alhelabi, Strategy Director at MDLBEAST & XP Music Futures Program Director, earlier this year said the MENA region “will become the pioneer in the music industry, by exporting talents, expanding on live events, innovating in teach and become one of the top in music consumption.”
Music Business Worldwide