Warner Music appoints co-chairs for Asia
Talk with Billboard in 2019, Robson underlined the importance of the region and, in particular, of China, which had the potential to become the largest market for recorded music “in a few years”.
Getting “the right China is crucial for the future of our business,” he told the reporter. Part of this process was to “invest in great artists and restart the structure of our management team”.
The promotions of Gobalakrishna and Serbin, both “extremely talented and experienced executives who have already had a big impact at Warner Music Asia,” Robson says of their new roles, are part of this ongoing plan.
Gobalakrishna joined Warner Music Asia in May 2020 as Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations, while Serbin joined the fold in November 2020, becoming CEO of Greater China and Head of Strategic Investments.
Their skills “complement each other perfectly and form a tremendous partnership,” adds Robson, “which will be extremely beneficial in increasing the success of Warner Music’s national and international artists in Asia and beyond.”
Warner Music has grown steadily in Asia over the past decade, during which time the company acquired the catalogs of Gold Typhoon (2014) and ISS (2016); launched a subsidiary in Vietnam (2020); and several new labels, including Japan’s +809 (2019) and Whet Records (2021); and welcomed to the region its service arm of independent artists and labels ADA (2020).
Gobalakrishna and Serbin “will accelerate this strategy over the next few years,” read a WMG statement unveiling their new roles.
Asia’s potential is no secret. In a market now dominated by digital products, recorded music revenue in 2020 rose 9.5%, according to IFPI. World Music Report. Without Japan, the trade body reports, Asia would have been the fastest growing region, with “exceptional growth” of nearly 30% year-on-year.
WMG’s business has undergone changes over the past year. Last November, Robson, President of Warner Music Asia since 2015, was chosen to become President of International, Recorded Music, effectively assuming Stu Bergen’s responsibilities for international recorded music.
And earlier this year, Dan Rosen, longtime managing director of ARIA and PPCA, was recruited to lead WMG’s presence in Australia, as president, Australasia.