Warner Music India launches, headed by ex-Sony exec Jay Mehta

Warner Music Group has expanded its presence in India, officially launching Warner Music India (WMI).

WMI will be led by well-regarded exec Jay Mehta, who has been named Managing Director in the market. Mehta joins Warner from Sony Music India, where he served as Director of Digital Business for several years.

Prior to joining Sony, Mehta (pictured) was Regional Director for the Reliance Broadcast Network, and also had stints at Reliance Communications and UNINOT, the sixth largest telecom company in the world.

At WMI, Mehta’s brief will also cover the other markets in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Based in Mumbai, Mehta will report to Alfonso Perez-Soto, EVP, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.

India is increasingly becoming a territory of global importance for the worldwide record industry, accelerated by the strong performance of local streaming players such as Gaana and Jiosaavn, and the launch of Spotify in the market in February last year.

“Music is a way of life here in India, a valuable pillar of our culture. There’s so much talent hungry for opportunity, and I’m looking forward to signing and serving a wide diversity of local artistry.”

Jay Mehta, Warner Music India (pictured)

According to IFPI data, India – with a population bigger than 1.3 billion people – was the globe’s 15th biggest recorded music territory in 2018, generating $156.1m for artists and labels. (IFPI’s numbers for 2019 are due later this month.)

In 2018, streaming revenue represented 69.7% of the total music market in India. During the same year, streaming revenue rose 30.9%, driven by local services as well as international players.

Mehta commented, “Music is a way of life here in India, a valuable pillar of our culture. There’s so much talent hungry for opportunity, and I’m looking forward to signing and serving a wide diversity of local artistry. India’s growing music audience will also benefit from this move, as we not only amplify our new rising stars, but Warner’s global superstars as well.”

Said Perez-Soto: “With a dynamic and vibrant music scene, India is a natural place for Warner to grow presence,“It’s a market that’s increasingly embracing international repertoire, as well as developing its own music scene beyond the traditional dominance of Bollywood.

“Jay is a brilliant creative and commercial leader and we all look forward to supporting him and his team as he spearheads our efforts in this growing region.”

“Jay is a brilliant creative and commercial leader and we all look forward to supporting him and his team as he spearheads our efforts in this growing region.”

Alfonso Perez-Soto, Warner Music Group

The launch of Warner Music India is the latest evidence of rapid international expansion of WMG’s operations amid a growing global record industry.

Within the last 12 months, the company has opened new offices in Turkey and Peru, acquired labels such as Monsp in Finland and Forza in Slovakia, and announced a partnership with Chocolate City in Nigeria.

Jay Mehta’s former boss at Sony Music India, Shridhar Subramaniam, was recently promoted at the major to a new role based at Sony HQ in New York – President, Strategy and Market Development, Asia and Middle East.

Sony is the biggest major record company, market-share-wise, in India.

However, Universal Music India, led by Devraj Sanyal, is growing fast, especially in the world of non-film music. Like Sony (and now Warner), UMG recently strengthened its position in India, announcing changes that saw Vinit Thakkar promoted to COO, India and South Asia.Music Business Worldwide

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