2020 Grammys

Warner Music Expands Into Turkey to Grow Local Language Roster

Courtesy of Warner Music Turkey
Gülce Özyeşilpınar

Warner Music Turkey will also be responsible for pushing the label’s international repertoire in the fast-growing market.

Warner Music Group continues to grow its global footprint with the launch of its first dedicated office in Turkey.

Based in Istanbul, Warner Music Turkey will be run in partnership with the country's leading independent label Doğan Music, which inked a distribution deal with the major last January.

The new enterprise will see the two parties work together on building a domestic roster, as well as growing the presence of Warner's international acts in a fast-growing market dominated by local acts.

According to IFPI, music sales in Turkey rose by almost 15% in 2018 to total $42 million, making it the world's 33rd biggest market for recorded music.

Key to that growth was a strong growth in streaming, which now makes up 60% of music sales. Streaming revenue climbed to $25 million in 2018, up from $3.8 million just five years earlier.

"We're hugely excited to step-up our presence in Turkey and partner with Doğan on artist campaigns that'll have an impact here and around the world," said Alfonso Perez-Soto, Warner Music's EVP, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, announcing the launch.

He called it a historic moment for the label by marking "a real return" to the home country of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegün.

Gülce Özyeşilpınar has been named as the first general manager of Warner Music Turkey, reporting to Perez-Soto. She said the partnership with Doğan Music would "turbocharge our global support" for their joint roster and help grow the profiles of Warner's international stars in Turkey. 

"Every day we engage with the most passionate music fans in Turkey and I'm very excited to connect them even more with our amazing artists and brilliant catalogue," said Özyeşilpınar, who previously worked for Sony Music Istanbul and Turkish indie label Pasaj Müzik.

"We believe this relationship will have a sustainable impact on Turkey's music industry and will be a big step in achieving a greater worldwide presence for Turkish artists who will explore creative opportunities without limits and contribute to our partnership in years to come," added Samsun Demir, CEO, Doğan Music Group.

The launch of Warner Music Turkey is the latest example of major labels looking to grow their presence in both primary and secondary developing markets by investing in local repertoire.

Last year, Universal partnered with Mass Appeal to launch a dedicated hip-hop label in India and opened a new Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore supporting A&R and marketing teams in Malaysia, Indonesia, Indochina, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Sony has similarly ramped up its worldwide operations, opening new headquarters in Beijing and joining forces with Tencent Music Entertainment to create a new Asia-based electronic music label called Liquid State.

For its part, 2019 saw Warner open an office in Peru, acquire Slovakian entertainment company Forza Music and sign a partnership deal with Nigerian record label Chocolate City. Last year also saw Warner Music-owned Spinnin' Records launch a new Asian imprint focused on discovering and developing talent from across the continent's rapidly growing EDM scene.


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