Universal Music Group has big ambitions in India, having launched local hip-hop label Mass Appeal India last August; building its VRYL Originals roster of artists; and expanding its leadership team early this year.
Now UMG has announced a distribution deal with Indian label Desi Melodies, which focuses on Punjabi music – at a time when ‘regional’ music is one of the big growth areas in India. The deal is multi-year, exclusive and global.
UMG will distribute all audio recordings from Desi Melodies, including its back catalogue. Note ‘audio’ in that sentence: the Indian label has more than 5.5 million subscribers and 1.6bn views on its YouTube channel, but that appears to be not included in the deal.
The bigger strategy here: to continue eating into the market share of ‘film music’ from Bollywood and India’s other movie industries.
“With VYRL Originals, Mass Appeal India and our other domestic labels, we have tried to expand the culture for original artist music and non-film to become a leading category for music in India,” said Universal India and South Asia COO Vinit Thakkar. Desi Melodies will now slot into that strategy.