Warner Music India has expanded its existing partnership with Sky Digital, an aggregator of Punjabi music content, signing a joint venture to manage a roster together.
The two companies initially established a strategic alliance in 2021 to distribute Sky Digital’s repertoire outside India.
The new phase of collaboration will involve joint efforts in developing and managing a talent roster. Warner Music India will also facilitate the promotion of selected artists from this roster.
Sky Digital India currently represents some of India’s most prominent Punjabi music figures, including Bir, Harnoor and Kaka.
The company also oversees premium Punjabi content-based YouTube channels boasting over 50 million subscribers. Additionally, it aggregates releases from over 50 Punjabi labels and represents two prominent independent Hindi labels.
According to Warner, Sky Digital artist Bir has “made a significant impact” with his track, Afterhours. Meanwhile, Harnoor has gained a following on YouTube with his song Waalian amassing over 390 million views. Kaka’s recent single, Shape, has garnered over 80 million views on YouTube to date.
Sky Digital’s roster of Punjabi artists also includes Mankirt Aulakh, Navan Sandhu, and Sunanda Sharma.
“This is a strategic partnership with a hybrid model that enables us to help develop artists’ careers directly,” said Alfonso Perez-Soto, President, Emerging Markets, Recorded Music, WMG.
“This approach will be hugely beneficial to Sky Digital’s artists who have the potential to be truly global stars. It’s also part of our mission to take culturally vibrant Punjabi music to a worldwide audience.”
“This is a strategic partnership with a hybrid model that enables us to help develop artists’ careers directly. This approach will be hugely beneficial to Sky Digital’s artists who have the potential to be truly global stars.”
Alfonso Perez-Soto, Warner Music Group
Managing Director Jay Mehta, who joined Warner Music India in March 2020 from Sony Music India, added: “The popularity of Punjabi music around the world has soared in recent years, amplified by a widespread diaspora and starting to cross over into the mainstream in several markets. This partnership creates a great platform for more artists to take their music global and have Punjabi music dominate global charts.”
This news marks WMG’s latest expansion in India’s entertainment sector after buying a majority stake in Indian digital media and music company Divo in February.
Warner Music India launched in 2020 and has since partnered with Indian firms including Sky Digital, Global Music Junction’s entertainment firm JetSynthesys, Bollywood specialist Tips Music, Punjabi music specialist Ziiki Media, and Bollywood company Jjust Music.
“The popularity of Punjabi music around the world has soared in recent years, amplified by a widespread diaspora and starting to cross over into the mainstream in several markets.”
Jay Mehta, Warner Music India
Commenting on the latest partnership, Sky Digital’s Managing Director Gurkaran Dhaliwal said: “This deal takes our collaboration to a new and a more dynamic level.
“Our synergetic relationship with Warner Music Group has already helped us expand our market share in India and significantly graced our artists with popularity among a wider audience. This joint venture allows music and homegrown talent to scale the zenith of success by becoming globally loved and acclaimed stars.”
Apart from WMG, other major labels that have branched into Punjabi music include Sony Music, whose publishing arm struck a partnership with Punjabi/Hindi content specialist White Hill Music in 2021, and Universal Music Group, which launched a Punjabi label called VYRL Punjabi with music composer Jatinder Shah in 2021 after entering an exclusive multi-year, global distribution deal with Punjabi music company Desi Melodies in 2020.
Music Business Worldwide