Chris Gobalakrishna and Jonathan Serbin have been named the new Co-Chairs of Warner Music Asia. They will both be based in Hong Kong and will report to Simon Robson, President, International, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group.
The two executives already play a crucial role in the company’s regional operations since Robson, who was President of Warner Music Asia between 2015 and 2020, returned to London to take up his current role.
Warner Music has grown and strengthened its presence in Asia in recent years, acquiring the catalogs of Gold Typhoon (2014) and ISS (2016); business opening in Vietnam (2020); the launch of new labels, such as Japan ?? s +809 (2019) and Whet Records (2021); presentation of ADA, its independent branch of services to artists and labels (2020); and dramatically expanding its national listings in key markets such as Japan and Korea.
Gobalakrishna and Serbin will accelerate this strategy over the next few years, in a region where the recorded music industry grew 9.5% in 2020 to US $ 5.1 billion, and 29.9% excluding the More Established Japan Market (IFPI), highlighting that huge growth opportunities remain.
Chris Gobalakrishna says: âI am honored to work with Jonathan to lead our operations in Asia. Asia is such a dynamic region, with spectacular growth prospects, which is also the source of the latest technological developments in music streaming and the ecosystem at large. We must continue to innovate to ensure that Warner Music is the first choice of artists with global aspirations. We are constantly seeking to better monetize the enormous consumption of music in all its forms across the region for the benefit of our artists.
Jonathan Serbin adds: âChris and I are determined to give a launching pad to all of the amazing emerging artists from all corners of Asia, so that they can take their rightful place on the world stage. From hip-hop to dance, rock to pop, Asian artists are redefining genres and connecting with audiences like never before. The world at large is realizing the enormous level of talent in this region and the next few years will see Asian artists become more and more influential and successful on the world stage. We want Warner Music to lead this revolution. ??
Simon Robson concludes: âChris and Jonathan are extremely talented and experienced executives who have already had a huge impact at Warner Music Asia. Jonathan has spent nearly 20 years in mainland China, building and managing entertainment and music companies with influence across Asia, while Chris has over two decades ?? experience as a commercial COO and CFO in a wide range of industries. Their skills complement each other perfectly and form a formidable partnership, which will be extremely beneficial in increasing the success of Warner Music’s national and international artists in Asia and beyond.
Gobalakrishna joined Warner Music Asia in 2020 as SVP, Finance and Operations. He has already contributed to the development and improvement of the financial ecosystem of the company, supported the transformation of the company in the region and played a central role within the management team.
He began his career at BMG in 1994 and, over the next decade, rose through the ranks to become Vice President of Finance of BMG International. A stint at Sony Music Entertainment followed, where he was Senior Vice President, Global Digital Business and New Business Initiatives. For nearly 20 years at BMG and Sony, he has helped shape their digital transition and grow their direct-to-consumer offerings, with a focus on expanding global operations.
Gobalakrishna went on to become CFO, Digital, Enterprise, Research, Marketing, Events and Social Media for Univision Communications in 2012, before taking up finance leadership roles at a number of private equity-funded companies including Workstride. , Beachbody and Tone It Up.
He graduated from Wharton with an MBA and holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Serbin also joined Warner Music Asia in 2020, becoming CEO of Greater China and Head of Strategic Investments. During his tenure with the company, he was instrumental in driving several commercial agreements, recruiting high-level talent to help it continue its transformation, launching regional footprints focused on genre and significantly improving its roster of artists in Mainland China.
He joined the company from Billboard where he served as Asia Manager, launching the brand in China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and looking after licensing, digital and social media. , charts, festivals and publications.
Serbin began his career as a corporate music lawyer in New York City, before moving into investment banking with a specialization in media and entertainment mergers and acquisitions. He moved to mainland China in 2002 and held several executive positions in companies specializing in the digital distribution of music and other content, before joining Billboard in 2014. Serbin also served on the subsidiary’s board of directors. Avex International, one from Japan? ? s largest record companies, advising on its market strategy in China.
He is a Columbia University MBA alumnus, holds a BA in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis, and a JD from Boston University Law School.
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