Fernandes’ AirAsia group launches music partnership, RedRecords, to deliver A-Pop to a global audience
In early December, the AirAsia Group and Universal Music Group (UMG) launched RedRecords, an announcement the airline group’s CEO, Tony Fernandes, said “was incredibly important” to him. Read More » “It seems life has come full circle for myself and my AirAsia brothers, Kamarudin and Nadda, whom I met through our early days in music,” he said at the debut of the company that has been established to discover and develop talent from Southeast Asia and the wider continent.
“Already, we have revolutionized air travel, enabling everyone to fly. As we celebrate 18 years of operation of AirAsia, we are focused on transforming the airline into a global digital travel and lifestyle leader,” Fernandes said.
“Now, we are heading back to our musical roots to revolutionise the future of Asian pop culture and give it the worldwide stage it deserves - in conjunction with Universal Music Group.”
RedRecords will be based in Kuala Lumpur and headed by Hassan Choudhury, head of music for the AirAsia Group. The company will provide distribution and marketing as well as artist development to expand A-pop beyond national borders and languages.
The label’s first signing is Thai singer, songwriter, influencer, model, gamer and actor, Jannine Weigel. She has recorded several singles and has more than 600 million views and 3.3 million followers on YouTube, 3.2 million followers on Facebook, 1.5 million on Instagram and 500,000 on TikTok.
UMG chairman and CEO, Sir Lucian Grange, said at the company launch: “The worldwide success of Latin and K-Pop has demonstrated that in a streaming era there are no barriers to great music regardless of language.
“Together with the combined strategic marketing reach and resources of AirAsia , we can provide Asian artists with an exciting opportunity to truly go global.”
“The region is filled with new talent and has the potential to reach almost 700 million people across Southeast Asia alone where music was increasingly driven by a young social and mobile driven audience, “UMG’s executive vice president marketing, Adam Granite.
Earlier in 2019, Vivendi-owned UMG established a regional headquarters in Singapore to extend its reach into Southeast Asia. The company operates in 60 countries and runs recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content businesses.
RedRecords is AirAsia’s first step in its transformation from an airline to a travel and lifestyle platform supported by digital services and a financial platform via its money app, BigPay.
|New era AirAsia leadership team
In recent months, as Fernandes restructures his group, he has announced several senior executive appointments.
He will remain Group CEO and double up as CEO of airasia.com, its travel and lifestyle e-commerce platform. At a later date, he will appoint his successor at the e-commerce platform.
AirAsia chief commercial officer, Karen Chan, will drive all commercial functions as airasia.com’s chief commercial officer and Spencer Lee will take on the role of airasia.com chief operating officer. He will manage the group’s online business portfolio that includes OURSHOP, AirAsia WiFi (ROKKI), hotel partnerships and associated AirAsia businesses.
AirAsia Software Engineering and Technology (AASET) head, Elias Vafiadis, will continue to lead software engineering, reporting to Fernandes.
The group’s former deputy CEO (Airlines), Bo Lingam, has been promoted to AirAsia Group president (Airlines) and also will lead AirAsia SEA. The subsidiary, formerly AirAsia Global Shared Services, is a shared services centre that provides corporate and support services to AirAsia.
Aireen Omar has been appointed AirAsia Group president (RedBeat Ventures) and will head the corporate venture capital arm of the company.
Fernandes said: “We are taking travel to another level by giving our guests a truly integrated and end-to-end experience. Not just flights but hotels, activities, lifestyle, e-commerce and more.
“At the heart of this is airasia.com, which will be a lifestyle brand that offers a frictionless travel experience of discovery, booking, pricing, branding, deals for all our products and partnerships.”