Universal Music Group has launched Def Jam Africa, with offices in South Africa and Nigeria but a remit to sign hip-hop, trap and Afrobeats artists from across the continent. The new label is launching with a raft of signings already on board: Boity, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai and Tellaman (all from South Africa) as well as Larry Gaaga and Vector (both from Nigeria). In recent years, UMG has been expanding its footprint across Africa, opening Universal Music Nigeria in 2018, launching a division focusing on French-speaking African countries (based in Côte d’Ivoire) the same year, signing Nigerian star Tiwa Savage to a global deal last year and signing a strategic partnership with Nigerian music company The Aristokrat Group earlier this month. The news came as South African artist Black Coffee announced that he had acquired a stake in independent label Gallo Music Investments, two months after the label was bought by investment group Lebashe. “The partnership with Lebashe to invest in the catalog and masters, is more than just a business transaction – it’s about creating an environment in which artists and creatives have a truly equitable stake,” said Black Coffee. “It is also the beginning of an industry revolution where African artists are part of structures that are fair and encourage new ways to monetise content.”

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