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Dubai record label launches as Arab music appeal grows

Label signings include Palestinian singer Noel Kharman

Galaxy Racer (GXR), the media giant focused on e-sports, music and sports, has announced the launch of GXR Records, an independent music label based in Dubai. 

GXR and Empire, the global independent label, distributor and publisher, said the new venture will be led by Elia Mssawir and will focus on developing talents in West Asian and North Africa (WANA).

With plans to build up the music industry across the region while fostering greater global awareness, the label will also launch its own music festival as well as facilitating tours and collaborations with musicians around the globe.

GXR Records will benefit from Empire’s legacy for developing new talent and Galaxy Racer’s own portfolio of stars, with the label already having signed on several WANA-based musical stars including Freek, Noel Kharman, Dyler, Hanody Awesome One and Noor Stars.

The new music label was revealed with a live stream concert on Galaxy Racer’s Twitch and YouTube, with acts from Noel Kharman, Tyler, Freek, Hanody Awesome, Kaehla, Casa Vince, alongside a special guest The Synaptik. 

Mssawir has over a decade of experience in artist and talent management, having launched the award-winning Big Beards Entertainment in Dubai, and worked with notable talent like Serj Tankian, Snoop Dogg, Engelbert Humperdinck and Tiny Tempah.

Galaxy Racer said Mssawir’s industry experience and knowledge will be “essential in fostering the new family of artists, creating impactful launches and memorable events for audiences”.

Face, Person, Human
Paul Roy, founder and CEO of Galaxy Racer, and GXR Records’ Elia Mssawir

Mssawir said: “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to lead this label and steer it towards its full potential.

“There is an incredible pool of talent here in MENA and also Asia that I’m excited to develop, as well as to give our artists a truly global platform. I plan to evolve GXR Records towards the future in this momentous time in our region’s music industry.”

Founded in 2019, Galaxy Racer has evolved to operate five separate business verticals – content creators, e-sports teams, tournament management, merchandising, lifestyle and the new GXR Records. 

The organisation has a global footprint of over 500 million followers worldwide, and a network of more than 100 content creators generating over 2.5 billion monthly views. 

Having cemented its position as one of the biggest names in e-sports, gaming, lifestyle and music across the Middle East and North Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Europe, Galaxy Racer recently expanded its presence into North America, opening a new regional headquarters in Los Angeles.

Paul Roy, founder and CEO of Galaxy Racer, said: “As we expand Galaxy Racer’s offerings as a media powerhouse, we are so excited to grow our involvement in the music industry and partner with Empire.

Clothing, Apparel, Person
Saudi Youtube comic and gamer Handy Awesome makes music as Awesome One

“With Elia at the helm, we’re confident that GXR Records will enhance our creative branches of the company and develop the region’s talent by finding and elevating creatives and giving them the platform and support network needed to thrive.”

Suhel Nafar, Empire vice president of strategy and development, added: “Empire has been supporting artists in the WANA region by providing opportunities and strategies to elevate their talent and expand their fanbase globally.

“We’re excited to partner with Galaxy Racer, who has been leading the way with content creators in the e-sports, gaming and lifestyle industries, in developing the GXR records initiative and connecting millions of listeners with songs by creators they love.”

Music from the MENA region is getting more traction globally with a music venue and nightclub in Brooklyn, New York, holding a popular party night featuring Arabic pop, hip-hop, folk and electronic music.

A decade ago, it was practically unheard-of for a major New York club to regularly host a Middle Eastern-themed party. But now, Laylit is part of a thriving scene in Brooklyn that puts Middle Eastern and North African music front and centre.

The GXR Records launch also comes just weeks after Abu Dhabi-headquartered Arabic music streaming service Anghami announced an expansion into the live music sector through its acquisition of events and concert organiser Spotlight Events.

Spotlight Events will be able to leverage Anghami’s 75 million registered users in 16 countries across the Middle East and North Africa for its upcoming schedule of events in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Cairo and Riyadh.

Anghami, which was the first Arab tech company to list on the US stock market Nasdeq in February, was founded in 2012 and has the largest catalogue of Arab music, comprising 72 million songs and licensed content from leading Arabic labels, independent artists, and distributors.

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