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Sony Music Increases Focus on Southeast Asia, Middle East With Strategic Restructuring

Sony Music Entertainment is opening new hubs throughout Asia and the Middle East that will more directly connect its operations in those regions with the company's New York-based leadership team, it…

Sony Music Entertainment is opening new hubs throughout Asia and the Middle East that will more directly connect its operations in those regions with the company’s New York-based leadership team, it was announced Thursday (Jan. 23). 

As a result of the new reporting structure, Sony Music executive Denis Handlin — who has overseen the Asia Pacific region for the company for the last 10 years — will now exclusively focus on Australia and New Zealand, where he serves as Sony Music’s chairman and CEO.


Stepping in will be the company’s longtime India and Middle East president, Shridhar Subramaniam, who has been appointed to the newly-created role of president, strategy and market development, Asia and Middle East. In his new capacity, New York-based Subramaniam will continue overseeing Sony Music in India and the Middle East while taking on the additional responsibility of strategy and market development in Southeast Asia. The role will see him partnering with each Sony Music subsidiary throughout the region to recommend and execute strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, investments and partnerships for the company and its artists. He will additionally be tasked with strengthening strategic relationships with other Sony operating companies there while engaging in all aspects of the company’s digital and partner development in the region.

“Asia and the Middle East are key emerging drivers of the global music industry and an important part of our current and long-term success,” said Sony Music Group chairman Rob Stringer in a statement. “This new structure will enhance collaboration with the regional leadership team to drive our strategic business and creative priorities.”   

He added of Handlin, “Denis has been very instrumental in our Company’s development in this region and has assembled an excellent leadership team in Asia equipped to execute on our strategic initiatives and expand the progress on our commercial activities there.”


The new reporting structure will also see Andrew Chan, Sony Music’s current managing director in China, leading the company’s business in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Longtime Sony Music executive Ariel Fung has also been named executive vp, Southeast Asia, while Joseph Chang will continue in his role as Sony Music’s managing director of Korea.

Sony Music’s increased focus on Asia is part of a larger industry pattern, with music companies seeking to capitalize on growing markets by fostering regional talent with global potential. Last September, Universal Music Group opened a new Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore, announcing a plan to launch hip-hop label Def Jam in the region while also establishing a presence for the Astralwerks label, as well as its B2B label distribution business Ingrooves and digital distribution service Spinnup, which is focused on discovering new artists. The label subsequently announced the launch of RedRecords, a joint-venture label with AirAsia Group that will focus on developing the next generation of Asian pop stars.

Also in September, live entertainment giant AEG relocated its Asia headquarters from Shanghai to Singapore and named three key new executives to the office in its push to establish a stronger presence in the region and compete with competitor Live Nation globally. The following month, Warner Music Group launched the Japanese label +809 out of the company’s Tokyo office in an effort to develop local urban and hip-hop artists.