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Republic Records launches Universal Arabic Music

By | Published on Wednesday 7 April 2021

Wassim 'Sal' Slaiby, Lucian Grainge, Monte Lipman

Universal Music has announced the launch of Universal Arabic Music, a new US based set-up with the aim of promoting Arabic music globally. Run as a division of the major’s Republic Records label, it will be headed up by XO Records founder Wassim ‘Sal’ Slaiby.

“In today’s global music marketplace, we’ve demonstrated time and again that worldwide hits come from anywhere”, says Universal boss Lucian Grainge. “There is so much talent in this part of the world that – with Sal’s incredible experience and intimate knowledge of the MENA [Middle East & North Africa] region, alongside his track record for helping to break global artists – he will bring a unique vision, strategy and power to Universal Arabic Music”.

Republic Records CEO Monte Lipman adds: “Sal’s clear vision and blueprint for Universal Arabic Music will become a catalyst for Arabic music in the marketplace. His ability to identify, curate and deliver talent globally remains a force of nature. The cultural importance of music from the MENA region crossing boundaries and reaching all corners of the world is long overdue”.

Slaiby himself says: “It’s been my dream to highlight the talent and culture of Arabic music on a global level with partners that I trust and admire”.

With its first signing confirmed as singer-songwriter Issam Alnajjar, Universal Arabic Music will work with other labels within the Universal group in the US, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, Australia and Mexico – as well as existing labels in the MENA region – to sign and promote other artists of Middle Eastern and North African descent.