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EMI to return to India via joint venture with Bollywood director

By | Published on Thursday 28 May 2015


Universal Music has announced the return of the EMI brand to the Indian market with the launch of EMI Records India, a joint venture with leading Bollywood film director Mohit Suri. Universal says the alliance is “the first ever association between a major record label and an eminent Bollywood film director that will develop a new platform that cuts across film and non-film musical genres”.

One of the challenges for the majors as emerging markets play an ever important role in the wider recorded music industry – and as the big streaming firms pump more of their investment into launching and expanding in these markets – is that the Western music giants don’t necessarily have the same market dominance in these territories as they do in Europe and North America. India is a key emerging market, and Bollywood is incredibly dominant there. All of which makes Universal’s alliance with Suri rather interesting.

Confirming the launch of all new EMI in India, the CEO of Universal Music Group South Asia, Devraj Sanyal, told reporters: “We’re immensely proud of our new partnership with Mohit Suri to bring EMI Records back to India. Mohit has been responsible for some of the biggest Bollywood hits of all time and A&R is right at the heart of Universal Music so this collaboration is the perfect platform for blending our complementary strengths and our shared love of music”.

He went on: “Too often in India there has been a huge gulf between film and non-film music but now with EMI Records India we are creating a new label to bridge that divide and invest in artists across all areas of their careers from mainstream Bollywood cinema through to Universal Music India’s rapidly growing live, branded content, endorsements and merchandising businesses”.

Meanwhile Suri added: “Music and independent artists have been the backbone of my career ever since I started ten years back. I strongly believe that the music composers, lyricists and singers that I have worked with from all over the world have been the stars of my life. This collaboration with Devraj and his team at Universal Music is the most organic synergy of like-minded people that allows me to continue exploring my love for music on a larger scale”.

Continuing: “With our joint expertise we will make EMI Records India a dependable brand through which we will launch and nurture musical talent and simply ‘let the music play’. Culturally, music has always played an integral role in our lives … [and] particularly through … Bollywood. Now, armed with expertise in both businesses – music and film – EMI Records India will soon carve out its own space in the world of music and entertainment”.