Independent label, distributor and publisher EMPIRE opens a department in the USA that focuses on West Asia, North Africa and its diaspora.
To lead the area, EMPIRE has hired Suhel Nafar as vice president of strategy and market development.
Based in San Francisco at EMPIRE’s headquarters, Nafar will join the global team as the label continues its overseas expansion.
Most recently, Nafar worked at Spotify as global director of Arabic music and culture, helping set up and launch in West Asia and North Africa, including an international curation initiative for the world’s greatest cultures.
Nafar also built Spotify’s Arab Culture Hub and its international programming strategy, curating more than 120 playlists, including flagship playlists such as Yalla Today’s Top Hits, Arab X, Shisha Lounge, and Global X.
In the 1990s, Nafar founded one of the first Arab hip-hop groups from West Asia.
In addition, in 2016 he helped launch the Complex Snapchat Discover channel, the fastest growing platform in Complex Networks history.
To anchor the region of West Asia and North Africa, EMPIRE worked with the Canadian-Lebanese superstar Massari, who recently released his album I See The Dream with Ali Gatie and in coordination with the World Food Program.
In addition, EMPIRE is developing up-and-coming Palestinian artist Elyanna, who released her self-titled debut EP in 2020, which has amassed millions of streams.
“After working on different sides of the music industry, studying artist growth and studying data, I saw that EMPIRE is where it is.”
“It’s the beginning of the future for the music industry, an era with no genres or borders,” said Suhel Nafar.
“Artists and fans are more connected than ever. It’s not about the language of the song or the platform from which the music is delivered, but about the music, the artists, their story and their teams.
“After working on different sides of the music industry, studying artist growth and studying data, I saw that EMPIRE is where it is.
“They are not just a distributor, label or publisher – they are partners of their artists, support their growth and aim to transform the music industry so that it is best for creators and culture.”
“Suhel is the perfect solution to advance our efforts in the region and especially to bring West Asian and North African music and culture to the world.”
Ghazi, CEO and Founder of EMPIRE, added: “When I founded EMPIRE, the goal was always to bring music and culture to a global audience.
“Establishing our presence in West Asia and North Africa is incredibly humble to me as my family is Palestinian.
“Suhel is the perfect solution to advance our efforts in the region and, above all, to bring West Asian and North African music and culture to the world.
“His knowledge and respect in the music scene are second to none and we look forward to having him on the team.”Music business worldwide