Universal Music Group and DGMC Want to Build a ‘Music City’ in the UAE

Universal Music Group is poised to open its first Capitol Studios outside of Hollywood, plus live performance spaces, music education academies and a new record label, as part of a collaboration with DGMC in the burgeoning music hub of the United Arab Emirates.

UMG and DGMC, a UAE-based music organization, will work together to build what’s described as a “Music City” that will serve as a regional hub for both local and global recording artists and songwriters in the fast-growing Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The planned studios will include all the latest accoutrement, including a Dolby Atmos mixing room, state-of-the-art recording equipment and rehearsal rooms for artists and writers. The label will be a joint venture between the two companies and will work to turn local artists into global stars.

“At its heart, the UMG-DGMC partnership’s aim is to support and nurture talented artists and songwriters in the region and help them reach their full creative and commercial potential,” the companies said in a joint announcement on Monday (Feb. 12).

The tie-up follows on the heels of UMG’s acquisition of UAE-based music company Chabaka late last summer to become part of Virgin Music Group. An increasingly attractive region for music mergers and acquisitions, MENA had the highest growth rate of any global region in 2021 and the third-fastest growth — 23.8% — in 2022, according to the IFPI.

“We have long recognized the potential in the Middle East, and are incredibly proud to be working with world-class partners like DGMC,” said Adam Granite, executive vp of market development for UMG. “We share their excitement and vision to harness this potential and nurture the next generation of recording artists and songwriters. Our partnership will create a powerful platform for the incredible talent in the region and accelerate their careers at home and abroad.”

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