Reservoir partners with Abu Dhabi's PopArabia to support Arab music talent

Published: 4 March 2020 - 12:48 p.m.
By: Nikhil Pereira

Reservoir, the independent New York-based music publisher, is set to invest in Abu Dhabi-based startup PopArabia, a music publisher and music rights consultancy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

TwoFour54 Abu Dhabi co-founded PopArabia in 2011.

The partnership will see acclaimed Canadian hip-hop musician Hussain ‘Spek’ Yoosuf as president of PopArabia.

Spek will lead the company’s international and emerging markets strategy, including the signing and development of local talent and export of Arabic and international music around the world.

PopArabia represents an estimated 60% of the market share of global music publishing repertoire and an array of recorded music in the MENA region.

As part of this new joint venture, PopArabia will assume the role of sub-publisher for all of Reservoir’s copyrights in the area, including collecting and distributing royalties and licensing music for synch today, to develop the music industry regionally and internationally.

Michael Garin, CEO of TwoFour54 said: “It is great to see international companies like Reservoir investing in a homegrown startup, which is testament to the prosperous entrepreneurship scene in Abu Dhabi. We are delighted to welcome Reservoir into the fold and are excited about the opportunities the company will bring to the UAE. Working in parallel, we will be able to build upon the unique strengths of each to the benefit of our creative community and content creators. These ventures are vital to providing Arab talent with a platform to share their content with the world while protecting their intellectual property.”

Reservoir Founder and CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi added: “Spek’s transition has come at a perfect time for Reservoir and PopArabia, and we could not think of a more suitable entrepreneur for this role.”

With 420 million Arabic speakers in the world, less than 3% of the content available online is in Arabic, a number that Reservoir intends to grow.

“I am thrilled about this next phase in the PopArabia story, and very bullish about the opportunities internationally for Reservoir,” said Spek, who initially joined the company as its Senior Vice President of Creative and Artists and Repertoire.

Based out of New York, Spek signed and oversaw talent including J.I.D, DVBBS, and Stone Temple Pilot’s Jeff Gutt to the roster. “It has been a pivotal five years working closely with Golnar, Rell, and the entire team through an incredible period of growth. I could not have found a better partner to help expand PopArabia and am excited to drive Reservoir’s next steps into new markets.”

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