Reservoir Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: RSVR), an award-winning independent music company, in conjunction with PopArabia, the leading music publisher and independent music company in the Middle East and North Africa, announced two new deals as the Company continues to execute on its emerging markets growth strategy. The deals include the signing of Egyptian rapper and singer Mohamed Ramadan to a worldwide publishing deal, which includes hits from his catalog and future releases. Reservoir and PopArabia separately announced the acquisition of Egyptian label 100COPIES, as well as a joint venture with the company to sign and develop Egyptian talent.
Considered a household name in the MENA region, Ramadan is an accomplished film actor and bona fide musical star. In 2019, he was crowned the Most Popular Artist in Africa by AFRIMA (the All Africa Music Awards), and to date, Ramadan has amassed over 4.65 billion views on YouTube, including for hits “Ensay” with Saad Lamjarred and “Ya Habibi” with French artist, Gims. With over one million Spotify monthly listeners and more than 20 million Instagram followers, Ramadan has cultivated a strong fanbase and is primed for success beyond the MENA region. He is currently working on new material, which features collaborations with international artists and producers.
On the deal Ramadan said, “I’m very happy to be entering this new deal with Reservoir and PopArabia. I look forward to reaching next levels together.”
An early champion of Mahraganat, the uniquely Egyptian musical genre that originally emerged in 2011, 100COPIES was founded in 2006 by Cairo-based producer Mahmoud Refaat. The label made early investments in the genre, inspired by young musicians mixing Arabic rap with electronic music and traditional Egyptian elements, including breakout duo, El Sawareekh. Their track “Laa” has generated over 100 million views on YouTube and helped establish them across the Arab world and through the diaspora.
These two Egyptian-based deals further diversify Reservoir and PopArabia’s robust efforts in the region, supported by twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s media zone that is home to the region’s entertainment industry. Reservoir and PopArabia’s other recent signings include Lebanese music icon Zeid Hamdan, Moroccan superstar 7liwa, and artist collective ARXP Cartel. Hamdan’s latest artist project, Bedouin Burger, participated in a virtual concert series for NPR’s Tiny Desk Meets globalFest, an acclaimed annual festival and non-profit organization for curators, artists, and the performing arts field. Additionally, 7liwa has made waves with his recent single “Hallelujah,” which quickly amassed over three and a half million views on YouTube since release. The collective, ARXP Cartel, which features a rotating line up of the biggest, most buzz-worthy rappers in the MENA region, aims to unify listeners across the region’s 22 states. Their debut single “Styla Jamaiki” is expected to be released June 9, 2022.
Reservoir Founder and CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi commented, “MENA was the world’s fastest growing region in 2021, with revenue growth of 35%, according to the IFPI’s recent report. We are proud to have created a robust presence in the market ahead of that growth through our work with PopArabia.” She added, “We look forward to further solidifying Reservoir as an influential player in these markets and simultaneously fulfilling our commitment to facilitate the movement and cultural impact of Eastern talent in the West.”
“It’s really gratifying to see the goals of our Reservoir and PopArabia partnership continuing to come to fruition through these new deals across regional talent,” added Spek, PopArabia Founder and Reservoir EVP of International and Emerging Markets. “In particular, Egyptian artists have long been a driving force in Arabic popular music; the deals with Mohamed and 100COPIES offer important opportunities for PopArabia. We will continue executing its regional strategy by establishing our footprint as a major player in Arabic music, investing in catalogues and talent, and taking this music to all corners of the globe.”
Reservoir is an independent music company based in New York City and with offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Toronto, London, and Abu Dhabi. Reservoir is the first female-founded and led publicly traded independent music company in the U.S. Founded as a family-owned music publisher in 2007, Reservoir has grown to represent over 140,000 copyrights and 36,000 master recordings with titles dating as far back as 1900 and hundreds of #1 releases worldwide. Reservoir holds a regular Top 10 U.S. Market Share according to Billboard’s Publishers Quarterly, was twice named Publisher of the Year by Music Business Worldwide’s The A&R Awards and won Independent Publisher of the Year at the 2020 Music Week Awards.
Reservoir also represents a multitude of recorded music through Chrysalis Records, Tommy Boy Records, and Philly Groove Records and manages artists through its ventures with Blue Raincoat Music and Big Life Management.
PopArabia was founded in 2011 by former Canadian hip-hop artist, music executive and entrepreneur Spek, in partnership and with ongoing support from twofour54 Abu Dhabi - the media zone that is home to the region’s entertainment industry. As a sub publisher, PopArabia represents the world’s leading music catalogues across the MENA territories and has pioneered music licensing in the region for over a decade. In 2020, PopArabia announced a partnership and joint venture with New York-headquartered Reservoir to sign and develop Arabic talent to export around the world.