Reservoir partners with Abu Dhabi's PopArabia to support Arab music talent in the region | twofour54

Reservoir partners with Abu Dhabi’s PopArabia to support Arab music talent in the region

26 Feb 2020

Reservoir, the independent New York-based music publisher, today announced its plans to invest in Abu Dhabi Startup PopArabia, the leading music publisher and music rights consultancy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

twofour54 Abu Dhabi who provides world-class infrastructure and 360° support services that enable the creative community and 500+ companies to bring their ideas to life co-founded PopArabia in 2011. As part of developing the industry through providing ongoing expertise, support and mentorship to the startup, it presents Arab talent with a platform to share their voices and stories with the world through music while protecting intellectual property.

The partnership will see acclaimed Canadian hip-hop musician Hussain ‘Spek’ Yoosuf as President of PopArabia. Spek will lead the company’s international and emerging markets strategy, including the signing and development of local talent and export of Arabic and international music around the world. PopArabia represents an estimated 60% of the market share of global music publishing repertoire and an array of recorded music in the MENA region.

As part of this new joint venture, PopArabia will assume the role of sub-publisher for all of Reservoir’s copyrights in the area, including collecting and distributing royalties and licensing music for synch today, to develop the music industry regionally and internationally.

Michael Garin, CEO of twofour54, said: “It is great to see international companies like Reservoir investing in a homegrown startup, which is testament to the prosperous entrepreneurship scene in Abu Dhabi. We are delighted to welcome Reservoir into the fold and are excited about the opportunities the company will bring to the UAE. Working in parallel, we will be able to build upon the unique strengths of each to the benefit of our creative community and content creators. These ventures are vital to providing Arab talent with a platform to share their content with the world while protecting their intellectual property.

Reservoir investing in PopArabia is testament to the incredible strides the industry has taken since the inception of twofour54, which instilled a culture of collaboration that is driven by the objective to build a sustainable media industry.”

“The UAE and the Middle East are becoming increasingly important global markets, and we are eager to expand our operations to include a renewed focus in these territories,” said Reservoir President and COO Rell Lafargue.

Reservoir Founder and CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi added: “Spek’s transition has come at a perfect time for Reservoir and PopArabia, and we could not think of a more suitable entrepreneur for this role.”

With 420 million Arabic speakers in the world, less than 3% of the content available online is in Arabic, a number that Reservoir intends to grow.

“I am thrilled about this next phase in the PopArabia story, and very bullish about the opportunities internationally for Reservoir,” said Spek, who initially joined the company as its Senior Vice President of Creative and Artists and Repertoire.

Based out of New York, Spek signed and oversaw talent including J.I.D, DVBBS, and Stone Temple Pilot’s Jeff Gutt to the roster. “It has been a pivotal five years working closely with Golnar, Rell, and the entire team through an incredible period of growth. I could not have found a better partner to help expand PopArabia and am excited to drive Reservoir’s next steps into new markets.”

In 2019, PopArabia cleared and licensed a sample for Coldplay’s “Church,” the second track off the group’s new studio album, Everyday Life. Everyday Life debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart upon release, laying claim to the title of the third-fastest selling album of the year behind releases from Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi. In the same year, the company licensed music into major advertisement campaigns for Pepsi, KFC, and mobile operator Etisalat in the MENA region, and for Etihad Airlines worldwide.

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