Reservoir Media said on Thursday it signed publishing deals for the catalogs and future works of Indian rappers MC Altaf and D’Evil and the producer Stunnah Beatz.
The deals are the result of a 2020 joint venture launched by Reservoir and Gully Gang, the label and entertainment group founded by Indian hip-hop star DIVINE. Established to sign and develop talented new songwriters in India, Altaf, D’Evil and Stunnah Beatz’s songs have racked up more than half a billion streams, including on collaborations with DIVINE like “Mirchi” and “Disco Rap” and Gunehgar, an album released late last year. (DIVINE is signed to Mass Appeal, which also has a partnership with Gully Gang. Mass Appeal recently ended its partnership with Universal Music Group.)
Investments by music companies based in the United States in artists, publishers and distributors based in Asia and other emerging markets has been growing at a rapid clip in recent years, with the trend expected to grow in 2023 particularly in the area of catalog investment. Luminate cited the opportunities in emerging markets, driven by the continued growth of streaming subscriptions there, as one of the main reasons investor appetite for song catalogs is growing.
India is the 17th-ranked music market globally, and it generated revenues of $219 million in 2021, up 20% from 2020, with streaming revenue jumping 87%, according to IFPI’s Global Music Report.
Founded in 2007, Reservoir has made investing in emerging markets a key prong of its diversification strategy. With its partner PopArabia, an independent music company headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, Reservoir acquired stakes in the Egyptian label 100COPIES, the Lebanese label and music publisher Voice of Beirut and signed publishing deals with Egypt’s Mohamed Ramadan, Lebanon’s Zeid Hamdan and Moroccan hip-hop star 7liwa.
“We’re proud to be ushering in these deals, which demonstrate Reservoir’s steadfast commitment to our ongoing emerging markets strategy,” Reservoir Founder and Chief Executive Officer Golnar Khosrowshahi says in a statement. “As we invest in these local acts and share them with global audiences, we are well-positioned to not only tap into their potential growth, but also help facilitate the flow of culture from East to West.”
Spek, Reservoir’s executive vice president of international and emerging markets and founder of PopArabia, describes MC Altaf, D’Evil, and Stunnah Beatz as three artists “at the heart of some of India’s biggest rap music today.”
Chaitanya Kataria, Gully Gang chief executive officer, says he was “excited that (MC Altaf, D’Evil and Stunnah Beatz) will gain access to new global opportunities with support from Spek and Reservoir.”