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Warner Music signs distribution deal with Sky Digital India

Sky Digital India is home to some of the country’s biggest Punjabi music stars.

MUMBAI: Warner Music India has struck an exclusive distribution agreement with Punjabi music content consortium and aggregator Sky Digital India.  Distribution of Sky Digital’s repertoire outside India will be handled by ADA, Warner’s independent artist and label services division, while Warner Music India will handle distribution within the country.

Sky Digital India is home to some of the country’s biggest Punjabi music stars including Jaani, B Praak, Mankirt Aulakh, Gippy Grewal, Sunanda Sharma, Sidhu Moosewala and Happy Raikoti, to name a few.  Sky Digital also manages premium Punjabi content-based YouTube channels with more than 15 million subscribers, making it the third largest Punjabi YouTube channel collective, with top videos on the site racking up more than 500 million views.

The company currently aggregates releases from more than 42 Punjabi labels, two leading mainstream independent Hindi labels, and some top regional labels specialising in Haryanvi and Bhojpuri music - two of the fastest-growing regional languages in India after Punjabi.

The deal will see Warner Music India help grow Sky Digital’s market share in India, currently estimated at around one per cent nationally, by establishing a presence for its artists and distributed label content on additional digital music services.  

Warner Music India MD Jay Mehta said, “The Punjabi music scene is absolutely exploding at the moment and Sky Digital’s artists already have a huge fanbase in India. We’re in a great position to help connect them with even more music fans both here and around the world. This deal is a key milestone in the development of Warner Music’s presence in India.”  

Sky Digital India MD Gurkaran Dhaliwal added: “We’re excited about the possibilities for our entire region of north India to engage in the worldwide music industry. Through this partnership with Warner Music, and the indomitable strength and scale that this region carries, we can expand together and achieve great success.”

Warner Music independent music and creator services president  Eliah Seton concluded, “There’s increasing interest in Punjabi music globally, ignited by diaspora communities in countries such as the US and Canada who’ve helped introduce it to a wider audience. ADA is proud to represent Sky Digital India’s amazing catalogue to a worldwide audience.”

Modern Punjabi music has its roots in the 1980s, as artists switched from playing folk instruments to harnessing modern production techniques. The Bhangra sound was also heavily used in Bollywood movies, spreading its popularity across India. Artists in the Punjabi diaspora in countries such as Canada, the UK and US started to blend in other influences from hip-hop, R&B and reggae with Bhangra beats.

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