UAE. “Music contributes to an economy’s growth. Once looked upon as a luxury for royalty, music is now readily available at the touch of a button or a single mouse click. Easy access has led to the underestimation of the true value of music with listeners taking it for granted that it is free.
“However, music is intellectual property that must be copyrighted and protected to ensure that the owner is rightfully rewarded. In the larger picture, losing music will be equivalent to losing cultural identity, according to Jihad Nehme, Executive Manager, Publishing Department and International Operations, Rotana Middle East.
Nehme’s comments came during an expert-led panel discussion titled ‘Music Industry in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities’. Held under the ‘Thought Incubator’ series, the event was organized by Dubai Media City.
Nehme added: “If music has to survive, we definitely need a collection society. Collecting royalties from public performance is not optional anymore. The rights of composers, lyricists, publishers and producers need to be acknowledged. It is the time to let the market know that music is not for free and broadcasters need to gain license to play music.”
Moderated by Rachel Spencer, a UAE-based researcher and consultant in the cultural sector the panel discussion featured Craig Pereira, Director – Marketing and Digital Business Development for Sony Music in the Middle East, Maisa Al Saidi, Founder I-rights, and Suhail Al Abdool, Chairman and CEO of Nojoom TV.
Commenting on the state of the music industry in the Middle East, Craig Pereira said: ‘The Music industry in the Middle East is rapidly moving from an essentially physical model to an innovative digital model. We at Sony Music are looking positively at the digital revolution and the many opportunities opening up for brands to connect with their audiences via music and content. Forums such as the Thought Incubator on ‘Music Industry in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities’ are essential for educating those outside the music sector on the prospects the landscape holds.’’
The panellists highlighted the value of intellectual property in the Arab world and the increasing importance of protecting cultural music in addition to examining the role of a collection society.
Commenting from a legal perspective, Maisa Al Saidi, Founder I-rights, said: “The lack of awareness of intellectual property rights associated with music and the undervaluation of musical works in the Middle East are obstacles in the development of copyright protection. It is essential to introduce music copyright laws in the Middle East that are in line with international standards. Furthermore, the establishment of collection societies is critical for connecting music rights holders with end users and regulating music rights in the Middle East.”
Suhail Al Abdool Chairman and CEO of Nojoom TV also shared a local perspective about intellectual property rights in the UAE and the region: ‘The music industry is undergoing significant changes whilst maintaining its dynamism and growth. It is important to educate and raise awareness amongst music production companies on practices that protect music rights and this takes precedence over the general public.
As a major owner of music rights in the UAE, we see the industry shifting toward the online space supported by an appropriate telecommunications infrastructure and high internet penetration rate and this opens up new opportunities for leveraging financial benefits to all stakeholders involved in the creative works”.
Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of TECOM Media Cluster, said: “We are keen to support the growth of the creative industry in the region and particularly the UAE. The music industry in particular is fast growing with home-grown talent gaining attention from international markets. These young talents are now able to gain exposure and experience from their counterparts across the globe. Dubai is also becoming an attractive destination for global artists and companies to launch labels and work with local artists. The Media Cluster has supported this growth by providing an ecosystem that promotes the adoption of international best practices and the protection of creative works.”
We recognize that creative industries play a significant role in the economic landscape – in some countries they represent up to 40 per cent of employment opportunities. Such activities particularly attract young talents and are essential to shaping their careers.
TECOM Investments’ Media Cluster – Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and International Media Production Zone – provide a complete value chain of specialised offerings that have created an established community hub for the media and content creation industries in the region.
About Dubai Media City
Strategically located at the crossroads of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Dubai Media City, a member of TECOM Investments, is rapidly emerging as the region's media hub. The City provides an advanced infrastructure for media-related businesses to operate globally out of Dubai. Dubai Media City is the place where activities Publishing, Music, Film, New Media, Leisure & Entertainment, Broadcasting, Media & Marketing Services, and Information Agencies will thrive. The facility offers an environment that allows companies and individuals to operate with collective synergy and freedom.
Companies based in Dubai Media City have the unique edge of commercial benefits derived from our free zone status including 100 % business ownership and exemption from personal income and corporate taxes. Since its official opening in January 2001, Dubai Media City has grown to become a thriving media community of over 1400 companies and hundreds of freelance media professionals. Several global media giants and promising entrepreneurial ventures have joined this unique community.
About Dubai Studio City
Launched in Feb, 2005, Dubai Studio City (DSC), a member of TECOM Investments, offers a complete technical and community infrastructure catering to the film, TV, radio production and broadcast industries. Being built on an area of more than 20 million square feet . DSC aims to attract production and broadcast companies, as well as a wide range of support services, including providers for animation, dubbing, makeup, costume design, set design and construction, casting, telnet agencies, telecine, and laboratory facilities.
DSC will feature pre-built studios, sound stages, workshops, backlots and stage areas, post-production studios, and satellite communication services. The cluster will also house film & television academies, commercial offices, entertainment & retail spaces, and hotels & residential facilities to accommodate crews and cast. DSC’s Location Approval Services (LAS) provides a single window for applying for shooting permits.
About International Media Production Zone
Dubai's International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), a member of TECOM Investments, seeks to create a unique cluster environment for media production companies from across the industry value chain, and from across the world, to interact and collaborate effectively.
IMPZ will be exclusively catering to the graphic arts, printing, publishing and packaging activities. As a master developer, IMPZ will provide an environment of growth by building key facilities, investing in infrastructure, and forming a unique free zone that incorporates industrial, commercial, residential and community service projects under its mantle. The vast complex will be housed on a territory of over 43 million square feet of land, in the heart of commercial Dubai.
The IMPZ initiative is part of Dubai's vision to develop itself into a global media hub. It will provide a pro-business environment, sophisticated technology and community infrastructure to support and foster the growth of media production.