Jeddah music center promotes Kingdom’s nascent entertainment sector

Jeddah music center promotes Kingdom’s nascent entertainment sector
Musicians performing at Jeddah's Makan Music Center. (Supplied)
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Updated 03 December 2021

Jeddah music center promotes Kingdom’s nascent entertainment sector

Jeddah music center promotes Kingdom’s nascent entertainment sector
  • Music has become not just an integral part of daily life, but a dynamic new economic sector
  • Jeddah-based Makan Music Center has become a focal point of the Kingdom’s burgeoning music scene.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s music industry has seen rapid growth from a standing start, largely due to the Vision 2030 reform plan, which positions entertainment front and center in the diversification of the Kingdom’s economy away from oil and its derivatives.

The General Entertainment Authority was established in 2016 with a mission to “provide recreational opportunities for all segments of society...to enrich lives and to spread joy.” It is doing just that with spectacular mega-events like Riyadh Season.

And with the relaxation of social norms in the Kingdom, music has become not just an integral part of daily life, but a dynamic new economic sector.

Numerous KSA-based companies are getting in on the act, via a spectrum of platforms: TV, Internet, social media, streaming services such as Lebanon-based Anghami (focused on Middle East-origin music) and live performance.

Saudi promoters such as Benchmark and AK Events have brought major international stars to local audiences. Mariah Carey, the Black Eyed Peas and Enrique Iglesias have all performed in the Kingdom, prior to the COVID-19 epidemic putting a temporary halt on public gatherings.

Jeddah-based Makan Music Center, which offers a full range of musical services, is a focal point of the Kingdom’s burgeoning music scene.

The center’s General Manager Shaher Karkashan, 32, founded the center with his musician colleagues in 2018.

He told Arab News: “Our goal was to create a hub for musicians. And our vision is to enable an individual to go the full circle with us — from learning an instrument to recording original material and then presenting his or her music to a live audience.

“That’s the goal, for both boys and girls — and surprisingly, over 60 percent of our clients are female.”

Such activities are crucial for the incubation of Saudi musical performers in order to supply high quality content to an industry hungry for new talent.

The center was initially launched with just two rooms — a recording studio and a jamming and learning space.

Three years on, it occupies an entire 400-square meter building divided into an eight-room teaching area, a 250-capacity auditorium and a recording studio.

Clients can learn a variety of instruments, including guitar, violin and drums, along with vocals. The typical age of musicians is 15 to 40, although some are aged 50 and above.

The center also provides equipment, talent and management services for indoor and outdoor corporate events, staged in malls and other public spaces, attracting audiences of up to 2,000.

Karkashan said that as the center has grown, it has become a more professional outfit with a robust business model and several income streams: tuition, ticketed concerts, artist management, equipment hire and corporate events.

He said: “We started with five employees — and now we are 20 and growing. We have six departments, including human resources, accounting and sales, and we’re hiring more people.”

While the KSA’s music industry – specifically live performance — was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future outlook appears positive. With the Kingdom’s health situation returning to normal, forthcoming live events include the appearance of Justin Bieber, A$AP Rocky and Jason Derulo, who are set to headline post-race concerts at this weekend’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in Jeddah. Industry players are hoping that this progress will not be impeded by the omicron COVID-19 variant.

Health conditions permitting, Karkashan and his associates are also planning a large new year concert as part of the port city’s Jeddah Season festivities.
Such activities were unheard of in the Kingdom even a few years ago, and Karkashan noted that the changes stemmed from the Vision 2030 reforms.

“Saudi Arabia had some major artists back in the 1980s, after which there was a huge 30-year gap,” he added.

“Then we started seeing a few Saudis performing on TV shows like ‘Star Academy’ and ‘Arab’s Got Talent’ — but they went on to work in Kuwait or the Emirates, because there was no opportunity for them to develop in Saudi Arabia.

“Now things have changed. The Ministry of Culture is involved, there’s the Entertainment Authority, even a Music Authority, and they are all helping to develop the KSA’s music industry.

“I think potentially big names will soon emerge in Saudi Arabia. They are under development now, and we will probably see them go mainstream in around 2023.”

Some of Makan’s clients have come together to form bands — one called Robin and another Bad Reception — and the center has also allowed more established acts, such as death metal outfit Wasted Land, to record and perform their own material.

Karkashan said that he is optimistic about the future of Makan as well as Saudi Arabia’s music sector as a whole.

He pointed out that he was focused on three main areas of growth: artist management, staging bigger outdoor events and opening new centers in Riyadh and other cities in the Kingdom.

“Five years ago, it was all very different. But now aspiring musicians have our full support as well as support from the media and the government.

“And social media really opens up huge possibilities. Many young people are passionate about learning music or starting a band or a career in music, and this is definitely the right time to do it.”

The Saudi music industry is slated to see exponential growth over the next decade and the Makan Music Center will surely play a part in that, both artistically and commercially.


Military-affiliated companies to be listed on the Egyptian bourse next year: PM

Military-affiliated companies to be listed on the Egyptian bourse next year: PM
Updated 53 min ago

Military-affiliated companies to be listed on the Egyptian bourse next year: PM

Military-affiliated companies to be listed on the Egyptian bourse next year: PM

RIYADH: Some military affiliated companies operating in the economy and civil sectors are being restructured to be listed on Cairo's Stock Exchange next year, Egypt's Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, said.

The companies will be available to all Egyptians, not just the private sector,  he added during his interview on a BBC program, citing President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s statement. 

Soliman did not disclose the names of other companies affiliated with the Egyptian army that are planned to be listed, until the validity of their legal structures is verified. 

“We have offered more than 25 percent of the wholly state-owned e-finance company on the EGX, and many companies, including companies affiliated with the armed forces, are scheduled to be offered on the stock exchange next year,” Madbouly said.  

He added that the size of the armed forces' institutions represents less than 1 percent of the Egyptian economy.

Ayman Soliman, the CEO of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt had previously revealed the organisation was in the process of completing the legal restructuring of two affiliated companies, namely the Safi food company and the Watania petroleum distribution company, with both set to be listed on the stock exchange.


UAE’s Masdar wants to hit 200 GW with global renewable energy projects: minister

UAE’s Masdar wants to hit 200 GW with global renewable energy projects: minister
Updated 17 January 2022

UAE’s Masdar wants to hit 200 GW with global renewable energy projects: minister

UAE’s Masdar wants to hit 200 GW with global renewable energy projects: minister

RIYADH: UAE-owned renewable energy company Masdar wants to see its global projects produce up to 200 gigawatts of electricity, the country’s Industry Minister Sultan al-Jaber said on Monday in Dubai.

Al-Jaber, who is also the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), was speaking at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Summit at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.

He said  Masdar has invested in wind and solar projects in 40 countries around the world, according to Reuters, adding: “Our ambition is to accelerate this development globally to reach 100 GW and ultimately double that again to 200 GW.”

No timeframe was set out for the growth, but last month the  Abu Dhabi government confirmed plans to increase Masdar's capacity to more than 50 gigawatts by 2030.


Tanmiah Food appoints Ahmed Osilan as managing director

Tanmiah Food appoints Ahmed Osilan as managing director
Updated 17 January 2022

Tanmiah Food appoints Ahmed Osilan as managing director

Tanmiah Food appoints Ahmed Osilan as managing director

RIYADH: Saudi-listed Tanmiah Food Co. will see executive board member Ahmed Sharaf Osilan take over as managing director for the ongoing term, which shall end on April 4, 2022.

The decision was approved by the company’s board of directors today, Jan. 17.  

The newly elected member, Osilan, will replace Muhammad Sajid Saeed.

Osilan holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial management, and has 20 years of experience in the investment field, having held many leadership positions in the past.

The Riyadh-based food company, which employs more than 1,500 people, has grown to become a major supplier of chicken products.

It operates a veterinary services unit and food processing business.

 


General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president

General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president
Updated 17 January 2022

General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president

General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president

RIYADH: Automotive company General Motors Africa and Middle East, or GM AMEO, has appointed Sajed Sbeih to the role of vice president of strategy, product & operations at GM Europe. 

Sbeih was previously serving as the managing director of commercial operations for GM Middle East & Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the company’s statement.

Currently named as GM AMEO chief financial officer, Albert Nazarian has been named as the managing director of commercial operations for GM Middle East & Sub-Saharan Africa.

Also, Ajai Shankar, former finance director, is appointed as the company’s new chief financial officer.  

This comes in line with the company’s global growth strategy and efforts to support its vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion.


Saudi energy minister: OPEC+ has worked hard to stabilize oil markets

Saudi energy minister: OPEC+ has worked hard to stabilize oil markets
Updated 17 January 2022

Saudi energy minister: OPEC+ has worked hard to stabilize oil markets

Saudi energy minister: OPEC+ has worked hard to stabilize oil markets

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, has done a lot to ensure the stability of the oil market, the Saudi Energy Minister has said.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Summit on Monday, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman emphasized the importance of a stable market, adding that the Kingdom enjoys good relationships with OPEC+ members.

OPEC+ has consistently resisted pressure from countries such as the US to raise oil production plans above the agreed rate of an extra 400,000 barrels a day.

Prince Abdulaziz also said that Saudi Arabia is engaging in many events globally with the aim of demonstrating the initiatives taken to boost sustainability.

In addition, while the energy sector faces some challenges in terms of technology, the minister said that young people are expected to welcome this with excitement as they try to satisfy their ambitions.