Warner Music Group is setting down roots in the Middle East and Northern Africa with a new office located in Beirut, Lebanon. The label group announced on Thursday the launch of Warner Music Middle East, covering a wide swath of the region.
Heading up the Beirut office will be managing director Moe Hamzeh, who joins WMG from digital streaming platform m.media, where he has been head of content since 2012. Hamzeh has a Warner connection, having previously worked for Music Master, Warner Music’s regional licensee in the late 1990s. He went on to found indie label and publisher Temple Entertainment and later joined Virgin Megastores for its expansion in the region.
Hamzeh, who’ll report to Chris Ancliff, WMG’s EVP, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, will lead Warner Music’s presence in 17 markets in the region: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Middle East division will focus on marketing and promotion of international WMG artists in the new markets, as well as signing and developing local talent. Local brand partnerships will also be cultivated.
Missing from Hamzeh’s mandate is Israel, where Warner Music already has a presence via affiliate Lev Group Media.
“Moe has invaluable experience working with local and international artists in the Middle East and North Africa,” Ancliff said in a statement. “Under his leadership, we plan to pioneer the growth of the music business in some of the world’s most creatively vital and commercially dynamic emerging markets. This launch of a new regional office is part of our commitment to building our local expertise worldwide and delivering maximum global impact for our artists.”
Hamzeh added: “Im honoured to be joining Warner at this pivotal moment in the expansion of the market in the Middle East and North Africa. We can now reach and draw in a huge number of fans across the region, enabling us to develop careers for local talent, as well as creating new opportunities for our established artists.”