Warner Music South East Europe acquires minority stake in Slovenian indie label NIKA

Image courtesy of Warner Music
Marko Stopar and Darjo Rot of NIKA.

Warner Music South East Europe (WM SEE) has taken a minority stake in NIKA, a Slovenia-based indie label.

NIKA is claimed to have been the first private-sector music label and distributor in what would soon be the former Yugoslavia when the label was founded by Darjo Rot and Marko Stopar in 1989.

The company began with a small store in Ljubljana, where music from indie labels around the world was introduced to the Yugoslav market for the first time.

Headquartered in Ljubljana, the company has been Warner Music’s licensee in Slovenia since 1995. Since 2017, NIKA’s repertoire of more than 11,000 songs has been distributed through ADA Worldwide, Warner Music’s independent distribution and label services arm.

Among NIKA’s artists are Big Foot Mama, Koala Voice, Luka Basi, Nipke, Siddharta and Žan Serčič.

The company today operates the largest online music store in Slovenia, with more than 300,000 titles available.

The acquisition of a minority stake will enhance Warner Music’s ability to bring NIKA’s roster to its international network, which will open up opportunities for these acts to reach a wider audience, WM SEE said in a statement on Friday (March 8).

“It’s a proud moment for us at WM SEE today in announcing this deal with NIKA,” said Izabela Ciszek-Podziemska, who has been WM SEE’s General Manager since 2022.

“We’ve worked with Darjo and Marko for almost 30 years, they have an impeccable reputation, and I can confidently say that there’s no-one better for us to partner with in Slovenia.”

“We couldn’t be happier to complete this deal with WM SEE,” Darjo Rot and Marko Stopar said in a joint statement.

“We’ve worked with Warner Music for almost three decades, and that’s because it puts their trust in us and enables us to do what we do best in Slovenia, and now with this deal we’ll be working even closer to ensure we’re bringing our artists to the world stage.”

“I can confidently say that there’s no-one better for us to partner with in Slovenia.”

Izabela Ciszek-Podziemska, Warner Music South East Europe

Bartosz Swoch, CFO, Warner Music Eastern Europe, added: “The upstreaming potential of NIKA’s artists within Warner Music’s global network is an exciting thought for me. We’ve had great success when partnering with labels in the region, like Magneoton and Mascom, so I’m excited to see how the team can elevate NIKA to new levels.”

Warner Music Group acquired a stake in Hungarian label Magneoton last year, as part of a deal that included distribution and a plan to nurture local talent.

A year earlier, Warner acquired a stake in Serbian record label Mascom, which was already serving as Warner’s local distributor.

Warner has made significant inroads in Eastern European music, in the hopes of capitalizing on a part of the continent that has seen rapid economic growth in recent years.

Warner acquired Slovak entertainment company Forza Music in 2019, and last year it invested in Czech hip-hop label Mike Roft.

In Poland, one the largest markets in the region, Warner Music invested in Big Idea, the country’s most important hip-hop promoter, and Step Records, its largest hip-hop label.

“There is talent everywhere, but we have to make the effort to break that talent,” Alfonso Perez-Soto, Warner Recorded Music’s President, Emerging Markets, said in an interview with MBW in 2022.

“That’s part of what we’re doing in Eastern Europe. Countries such as Croatia, Romania or Slovakia may have small population, but artists from such markets can have a chance of global success.”Music Business Worldwide