Mumbai-based Sony BMG Music Entertainment India has launched the first Columbia Records imprint in Asia outside Japan.

Columbia Records India is headed by well-known Indian composer/musician Sandeep Chowta, who says the label will be a platform for new artists from various genres.

CRI’s first three signings are Sufi male vocalist Master Saleem, female pop vocalist Sonu Kakkar and pop rock band Karma 6.

The new label’s first release will be Kakkar’s debut album, “Don’t Touch Me,” in July.

Sony BMG India MD Shridhar Subramanium says that CRI will work its artists “on all fronts, from physical and digital sales to promoting live appearances and placements in film soundtracks and other projects.”

Sony BMG Asia Music Entertainment president Kelvin Wadsworth says that despite the dominance of Bollywood and film soundtracks in India, no market can be dominated by just one genre. “Which is why the growing Indian independent scene looks promising,” he notes.

“From the performances I saw, there is international breakout potential for these artists but they first have to prove themselves domestically,” Wadsworth continues.

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