Rotana a power-player in Arabic music world.

The Orchard, the U.S.-based digital-music and marketing group, has clinched the global digital-distribution rights to the music portfolio belonging to Rotana Audiovisual, the Saudi Arabia music and film company.

The deal was unveiled today (Oct. 27) at the World Music Expo (Womex) in Seville, Spain.

Rotana's catalog is said to comprise 85% of the Arabic music industry with recording, publishing and synchronization rights to the works of Arabic stars such as Mohammed Abdou, Amr Diab, Wael Kfory, George Wassouf, Majed Almuhandess and Fulah.

Rotana Audiovisual belongs to the Rotana group, which also includes the Rotana Mousica free-to-air music-TV channel, the Rotana FM music-radio station, a music-video production unit and the Rotana Café, a local entertainment venue designed for promoting and marketing the artists on its roster.

"In our nearly 20 years in business, we have established ourselves as the top provider of Arabic music and movies to audiences in the Middle East and North Africa," said Rotana's founder/CEO Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud.

"With The Orchard, we have the opportunity to broaden our reach in key markets like North America and Europe, where there are vast ethnic Arabic populations."

Prince Alwaleed is one of the world's Top 10 richest people, whose financial interests in global firms includes investments in AOL, Apple Computer, Motorola, Walt Disney Co., and News Corp via his Kingdom Holdings Co.

He also formed Kingdom Entertainment, a joint venture with Michael Jackson.