Copyright: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2020

In a significant deal for the world of South Asian music, Universal Music Group has acquired the catalog of Oriental Star Agencies (OSA), one of the pioneering record labels in the UK focusing on that genre. Founded in 1969 in Birmingham by Mohammed Ayyub, OSA was borne out of his desire to stay connected to the music of his native Pakistan after immigrating.

Over the decades, OSA played a pivotal role in breaking numerous British Asian artists into the mainstream. The immense impact of both the label and Ayyub’s contributions were recognized with an MBE award in 2014. A representative from OSA described the new agreement with UMG as a “game-changing” partnership that will take them to another level.

Universal acquired OSA’s extensive archives, estimated at around 18,000 songs spanning recordings, live performances and music videos. Financial terms were not disclosed but experts acknowledged this was a major transaction. According to industry veteran Sunjay Kholi of YouTube, the catalog features icons like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with over 120 albums as well as Malkit Singh of Bend It Like Beckham fame.

UMG celebrated OSA as the undisputed leader in its field in the UK. The deal furthers UMG’s global ambitions within rapidly growing international music scenes. Kholi called it a tremendous win-win, opening new avenues for both organizations. Beyond distribution, UMG provides unparalleled promotional infrastructure, platforms, and know-how to amplify OSA’s artists on a massive scale. Now with access to India’s colossal streaming market through UMG, OSA’s music can reach new heights.

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