The global major labels are all hyper-interested in partnerships and expansion in the key African music markets. Warner Music Group’s latest move is a deal with Nigerian independent label Chocolate City, whose roster includes artists like Femi Kuti, Dice Ailes and M.I. Abaga.
The partnership will see Chocolate City’s artists working with WMG’s distribution and artist-services division ADA globally, but the label will also be supporting WMG in the promotion of its global artists in sub-Saharan Africa.
The deal includes “financial support” from WMG too. “The partnership with Warner Music Group is unique in the sense that our clients get the best of both worlds – curated and bespoke services by a highly experienced team across Africa and a dedicated global team to further push their music and their brands,” said Chocolate City group CEO Audi Maikori. “Our partnership allows for a free exchange of ideas and music that will promote and support local artists,” added WMG’s director of international strategy and operations, Temi Adeniji.
The partnership reminds us of a comment made by Chocolate City’s general manager Aibee Abidoye at our NY:LON Connect conference in January, when she was asked about how the global majors were approaching Africa. “Coming in to the market, it’s one thing to be present in the market, it’s another to be effective. And I think that comes from collaboration with people who are already there, rather than throwing your weight around,” she said.