AirAsia Group and Universal Music Group (part of the Vivendi company) jointly announced, today the launch of a new label RedRecords. The partnership reflects the diverse and rich musical culture of the continent, aims to develop and establish ‘A-pop’, Asian, talents from Southeast Asia.
What may seem piercingly striking, at first, was not the subject that details the incoming that we’ve been waiting all morning. But the feature image that accompanied a lengthy press note from the headquarters of Universal Music, and this was before we read its content.
“This announcement is incredibly important to me. It appears life has come full circle for both myself and my AirAsia brothers, Kamarudin and Nadda, whom I met through our early days in music,” said Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group.
“Now we are also heading back to our musical roots to revolutionise the future of Asian pop culture and give it the world wide stage it deserves in conjunction with Universal Music to launch RedRecords,” added Fernandes.
What immediately demands attention is truly found in the simplicity and unequivocal name such as AirAsia. Trademarked in red, AirAsia has become imperceptibly synonymous to the name Tony Fernandes, who prior to starting an airline, has already marked a significant milestone in the regional and international music scene.
[Tony’s very first jobs in the music industry includes working with prominent entertainment figureheads like Sir Richard Branson]
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group commented on the significance and worldwide success of the Latin and K-pop genre. And that the partnership between highly resourceful and global brands can also favorably affect Asian artists.
The new label has also revealed the signing of its very first artist: Jannine Weigel, a Thai singer, songwriter, gamer, actor and social influencer. Her repertoire lists singles and EPs, and huge social media following with over 600 million views and 3.3 million followers on YouTube.
While this partnership sees the marriage of a brand new alliance; perhaps even the first in the world between an airline and a global music label, it isn’t the first between Fernandes and Calvin Wong, recently appointed as CEO (Southeast Asia) & SVP (Asia) of Universal Music. They met twenty years ago when Wong [EMI] joined Fernandes’ team at Warner, Malaysia.
In his autobiography ‘Flying High’, Fernandes’ story-telling sets a palpable tone (isn’t it in all autobiographies?), more often than not, provides an equivocal deliberation, reverential nevertheless, about the relationships he made in the music industry. Whimsically, he spotted Calvin Wong a ‘talented’ individual, at the same time equipped with an insatiable candor ‘to disagree with everything [Fernandes] said.’
An antiquated saturnalia, nonetheless.
In addition to artist development and A&R, the label will provide distribution and marketing, as well as management and agency services. Head of Music for AirAsia Group, Hassan Choudhury, will take on the role of CEO of RedRecords.
The last we’ve heard of AirAsia in the music space they launched a partnership with New York-based (RED) and, vaguely revealed a collaboration with 88Rising in November 2018.
Recently, Universal Music bolstered its leadership team in Singapore. Among the members include Elvin Eng (CFO, Southeast Asia & Korea); Gus Henderson (head of new business and brands, Southeast Asia and Korea), Daniel Haugen (VP, business development and digital); and Aerae Eun (HR director, Southeast Asia & Korea).
In the recent months, Vivendi has been in talks with companies including Chinese giant Tencent to buy a stake in UMG. An earnings report released by Vivendi in February said that UMG clocked total annual revenues of approximately US$7.15 billion and continues to be a primary driver of Vivendi’s revenue.
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