Warner Music Inks ‘Landmark’ Partnership Deal With Pakistan’s Giraffe, Targets ‘Coke Studio’ Involvement

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Giraffe co-founders Xulfi (left) and Muhammad Ibrahim, who serves as CEO. Photo Credit: Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group (WMG) has officially inked a partnership deal with Pakistan’s Giraffe, the producer behind a number of regionally popular music shows.

The Big Three label and seven-year-old Giraffe disclosed their tie-up today, amid significant music industry growth in South Asia as well as Pakistan itself. Population 245 million, the latter nation is home to commercially prominent acts including Xulfi (real name Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan), who co-founded Giraffe alongside entrepreneur and Pricewaterhouse Coopers vet Muhammad Ibrahim.

To date, the self-described “idea space driven by culture” has produced music programs such as Drummers of Pakistan, Red Bull Music Sound Clash, Nescafé Basement, and, perhaps most notably, season 14 of Coke Studio.

Executive produced by the namesake Coca-Cola, Coke Studio features performances (seemingly captured in the studio, not live) from emerging Pakistani artists; its clips have garnered almost 4.4 billion views on YouTube alone.

With Spotify onboard as “the official music streaming partner” of Coke Studio, WMG and Giraffe are now set to coordinate on the forthcoming season 15. While the precise commercial byproducts of the collaboration remain to be seen, Warner Music took the opportunity to emphasize the Giraffe pact’s importance on the A&R front.

And in a statement, Xulfi, previously the guitarist for bands Entity Paradigm and Call, expressed the belief that the deal will prove “a beautiful and adventurous journey.”

“Our aim has always been to use art to build bridges for conversing with the world,” the 43-year-old said in part. “Warner Music, while leveraging its immense global influence, will also help support the artists and their artistry in Pakistan. … Together with Warner Music, we will endeavor to scout stories that can catalyze transformative change, in the pursuit of nurturing a vibrant music ecosystem for the future, and present a greater narrative of love from Pakistan to the world.”

Ibrahim, for his part, indicated that Giraffe is eager to continue “signing and developing our talent by delivering the best-in-class service,” while Warner Music president of emerging markets Alfonso Perez Soto noted that Giraffe “will be invaluable in Warner Music’s growth in the region.”

Lastly, WMG’s president of international for recorded music, Simon Robson, drove home a wider objective of helping Pakistani acts broaden their global reach.

“This is a landmark moment for Warner Music as we work with Giraffe to establish a presence in Pakistan,” communicated Robson. “The combination of its local A&R experience and our global network will mean we can offer talented artists from Pakistan a chance to shine on an international stage.”

Of course, the Giraffe agreement marks only the latest in a line of efforts from WMG to bolster its positioning in quick-developing markets. Last year, the Qanawat owner and Rotana stakeholder invested in Dubai’s HuManagement, expanded its union with Punjabi music consortium Sky Digital India, and scored an album-distribution deal with China’s Lay Zhang.