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Universal Music Group on Tuesday appointed Simon Jerome Nasser as managing director for Universal Music Singapore and its Southeast Asia head of live, a newly created role. The appointment helps UMG bolster its growing presence in the Southeast Asia region, after last month launching label divisions Def Jam Southeast Asia, focused on hip-hop, and Astralwerks Asia, focused on electronic and dance.

Nasser will oversee Universal’s Singapore operations as a core member of the regional executive team reporting to Calvin Wong, Universal Music Southeast Asia’s CEO and senior vice president of Asia.

Nasser will develop domestic and international activity in the Singapore market, and be responsible for Universal’s live activity in the broader region, seeking to expand and develop strategic live opportunities for the company’s roster of talent, labels and partners. For the latter, he will work closely with Universal’s global vice president of live events Jimmi Riise.

With more than 30 years of music industry experience in the region, Nasser joins UMG from Warner Music Group, where he started back in 2004 and was managing director of Singapore from 2015 to 2020. At WMG, he helped discover, develop and break local and international talent, including Jasmine Sokko, who won best Southeast Asia act at the 2019 MTV Europe awards, a first for a Singaporean artist. Nasser’s live experience includes the promotion of Southeast Asia tours and shows for artists such as Kylie Minogue, Josh Groban, FUN, Corrinne May and Derrick Hoh, among others. Nasser is also currently chairman of the Recording Industry Association Singapore (RIAS), Music Rights Singapore (MRSS), and Recording Industry Performance Singapore (RIPS).

Wong expressed his excitement about the new hire in an announcement. “His skill set is unparalleled in market, his passion is infectious and his track record at breaking artists locally is second to none. I am sure his legacy will continue to shine in his new role,” he said of Nasser.

Riise said that Nasser’s “vast experience and deep local knowledge will help provide a new focus to our activity across Southeast Asia, and will allow us even greater synergy between our recorded music and live operations in the region.” 

Nasser himself said he was “humbled” to have the opportunity to join the team, calling it “a privilege and a blessing.”

“Over the coming months and years, we will focus on developing our domestic artists and labels, nurturing their creative vision in order to help them reach new audiences across the region and globally, whilst identifying and creating exciting growth opportunities for Universal Music Singapore,” he said. “The current live landscape in SEA allows us to help artists, partners and brands curate personalized, innovative and valuable experiences and performances that will embrace the digital space, live streaming and of course, public live events as they become more frequent again in the years to come.”

Universal Music Group recently launched Astralwerks Asia, a label division focused on electronic and dance music, in mid-September. It also snapped up ex-Warner Music talent to take the lead there with the appointment of ex-Warner Cindy Gu as head.

At the same time, it also launched Def Jam Southeast Asia to focus on hip hop, with local divisions in each country. In the past year, Def Jam Singapore has signed an array of local hip-hop talent including Yung Raja, Fariz Jabba, Abangsapau, and YHB Sleepsalot.