ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, June 2022/ — A new dedicated distribution service for independent African artists and labels across the continent to reach audiences across the continent and beyond; Label services division launches with more than 15,000 titles, 50 label partners, and 100 + artists from more than 25 African countries.
Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the launch of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in Africa.
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Africa is the latest division of UMG’s global network to launch operations, dedicated to delivering premium and flexible artist and label services to the industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent worldwide, inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label.
The division will focus on supporting the next wave of independent artists talents, labels, influencers, and entrepreneurs from the region with disruptive innovation and best-in-class services, to help deliver global success for its roster, and further expand the reach of music culture from across the continent to the vast African diaspora, as well as to new fans and audiences around the world.
The division launched with excess of 15,000 titles in its catalog, with more than fifty label partners from 25 countries, which includes the likes of; Kesi Publishing (Panaf), Blue Diamond (Benin), Hope Music Groupe (CMR), Hitlab (Panaf) Hiquest (SNG), Yaye Boye (Fr) and releases from more than 100 of Africa’s leading artists including; including Youssou Ndour (SNG), Touré Kunda (SNG), Lokua Kanza (DRC), Magic System (CIV), Werrason, Serge Beynaud (CIV), Innos B (DRC), Debordo (CIV), Sagbohan Danialou (Benin), Cabo Snoop (Angola) and Fanicko (Benin) amongst others.
It will combine the support for independent African artists and labels, with making historical and often long out of print African music catalogs available digitally for the first time.
Virgin Music arrives in Africa under the leadership of Universal Music Africa’s current Director of International Development, Guylaine Clery and Head of A&R Félix Pea, who will also serve as co-directors of the new division, effective immediately and will report to Franck Kacou, Managing Director, Universal Music Africa.
In making the announcement Franck Kacou, MD, Universal Music Africa said, “Our vision for Virgin Music in Africa is based on an observation that African cultural heritage has not yet fully found its place in the digital world and on DSPs globally. Indeed, with some of these services rarely existing in certain territories, this heritage is unequally represented. Our ambition is to make African music, a showcase of all that Africa and its diaspora can offer the world!
“We intend to give new life to forgotten songs, our investigation will go as far as digitizing them to make them accessible to as many people as possible, everywhere in the world. The creation of this label services will make it possible to preserve, distribute, structure, and promote the African musical heritage of yesterday, today and tomorrow, whilst also providing global distribution services to Africa’s most exciting artists, labels and entrepreneurs.”
Olivier Nusse, CEO & President of Universal Music France said, “Launching Virgin Music LAS on the continent is in line with our long-term vision, both in terms of our relationship with labels and artists whose talent shines outside Africa, and in terms of developing our activities in this booming region of the world. Our expertise and dedicated teams, combined with the Virgin worldwide network, offer a unique platform and range of opportunities, but above all, tailor-made support for the continent’s labels and exciting talents.”
About Virgin Music Label & Artist Services:
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services is a network of regional hubs strategically positioned in the world’s leading music markets that delivers premium artist and label services to the industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent.
Founded on the spirit and ethos of the Virgin brand, long synonymous with disruptive innovation and musical creativity, Virgin Music Label & Artists Services provides artists and labels with global and regional solutions and resources from fully staffed operations across major music markets, including the fast-growing Latin music territories, with more to come.
Launched in 1972 in the U.K. by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Records has helped redefine music culture for almost half a century. Independent music distribution and disruption have been a key catalyst in Virgin’s global success throughout its history: from its pioneering roots in prog, reggae, punk, and new wave.
Virgin Records also served as home to some of the most influential and reverential artists of the past century, including David Bowie; The Sex Pistols; Aaliyah; The Rolling Stones; George Michael; Janet Jackson; Lenny Kravitz; Culture Club; Massive Attack; and the Spice Girls.
Since its launch in January 2021, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services has opened divisions in the U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany, and across Central Europe, France, Australia & New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Western Balkans, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Portugal with further markets to launch in the coming months.
About Universal Music Group:
At Universal Music Group, we exist to shape culture through the power of artistry. UMG is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising, and audiovisual content.
Featuring the most comprehensive catalogue of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world.
Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms, and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. For more information visit www.UniversalMusic.com.