PopArabia launches ESMAA, a music rights entity to facilitate licensing in UAE and Gulf

Company also announces deals with PRS for Music & SOCAN

Abu Dhabi, 16th August 2021 Abu Dhabi-based independent music company PopArabia announces the launch of ESMAA, a new UAE-based music Rights Management Entity (“RME”) to facilitate music licensing in the Gulf region. ESMAA works broadly with both global rights holders and regional businesses to provide Gulf markets with the ability to license music domestically for the first time.

ESMAA has concluded agreements to represent the rights of global collecting societies including the UK’s PRS for Music and Canada’s SOCAN, representing over 30 million musical works and over 150,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers respectively through these deals. In addition, ESMAA has signed agreements to license iconic U.K record label Chrysalis Music and Global Master Rights, the neighbouring rights company representing the rights of over 300 record labels and more than 2500 performers including Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Imagine Dragons, DJ Snake, Metallica, Migos, and David Guetta, among others.

ESMAA, which translates to the Arabic word for “Listen,” has also recently become a Client Rights Management Entity of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC). Founded in 1926, CISAC is a global not-for-profit organization that protects the rights and promotes the interests of creators worldwide through the largest international network of collective management organisations, including 228 member societies in 120 countries/territories. ESMAA’s status as a Client of CISAC marks the first and only time an organization from the Gulf region has ever been able to benefit from CISAC’s technical tools and solutions for authors’ rights administration. In light of these developments, ESMAA has already begun developing a comprehensive music repertoire database for the Gulf territories.

ESMAA Founder & CEO Hussain ‘Spek’ Yoosuf commented, “We’re very pleased to have already begun working with rights holders to license music in the market and meet the needs of regional businesses who have been in need of a local solution. After navigating music rights challenges in this region for many years, I can say with confidence that the work we are doing at ESMAA represents a historic step forward for music licensing in the Gulf.”

ESMAA is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi based PopArabia, the leading independent music publisher in the Middle East, and a partner of twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s media and entertainment hub.

Commenting on the launch of ESMAA, Michael Garin, CEO of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, said,  “Enabling content creation in Abu Dhabi and building the emirate into a leader within the creative industries is twofour54’s ultimate goal. Through our investment into PopArabia a decade ago, we have supported the local music industry and enabled home-grown artists. As the latest step in this journey, ESMAA will elevate music licensing in the region and place the emirate firmly on the global music stage.”


PopArabia is the leading rights consultancy and independent music company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).