MUMBAI (CelebrityAccess) – Universal Music has teamed up with New York-based media and content company Mass Appeal to launch a new label aimed at growing India’s thriving hip-hop scene on a global scale.
Based out of Universal Music India’s headquarters in Mumbai, Mass Appeal India will be headed by UMG India & South Asia managing director and CEO Devraj Sanyal, in close partnership Mass Appeal CEO Peter Bittenbender and rapper Nas, who has helped the brand expand into a multi-platform media business, creative agency and record label.
Universal says the label will look to sign and work with some of the biggest stars in Indian hip-hop, who will be able to use the major’s marketing and promotion clout, as well as Mass Appeal’s global network of brand and content creators, to grow their fanbase both domestically and worldwide. All releases from Mass Appeal India will be distributed exclusively via UMG worldwide, while Mass Appeal will lead release strategy within the U.S. and Canada.
Mass Appeal India’s first signing is gully rapper Divine (real name Vivian Fernandes), who is one of the most-streamed independent artists in the subcontinent. Divine’s rise was also the inspiration behind Zoya Akhtar’s 2019 acclaimed feature film Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh, which introduced the Mumbai MC to an international audience.
Divine’s domestic hits include “Meri Gully Mein,” “Kaam 25” and “Jungli Sher,” the latter of which was the first Indian single that Apple Music released worldwide.
His debut album Kohinoor is set to be released later this year.