Warner music group 1500x500

Warner Music Group has revealed its latest strategic move in Africa: a majority stake in distributor and artist development company Africori.

This isn’t a new relationship: WMG previously invested in Africori in early 2020, but the major label says taking a majority stake could see it become “the number one distributor in Africa”.

WMG said that Africori’s existing CEO Yoel Kenan will continue leading the company under WMG’s auspices.

“Yoel Kenan and his team have done an incredible job building a company that is a real force of nature in Africa and, by bringing them into the Warner Music ecosystem, we believe we can give them deeper support as we aim to take African music even more global,” said Warner Recorded Music president of emerging markets Alfonso Perez-Soto in a statement.

Since that original investment, the two companies had worked together on various projects, including global distribution for Master KG’s ‘Jerusalema’ – initially a TikTok-fuelled viral hit in South Africa which went on to top charts elsewhere in the world.

“With Master KG, we worked closely with the Africori team to take a local hit and connect it with people around the world,” said Temi Adeniji, MD of Warner Music South Africa and SVP, strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa at WMG.

“This new deal positions us as Africa’s leading distributor and I’m confident that in joining forces, Warner Music South Africa will be in a great position to deliver more wins like ‘Jerusalema’ in the future.”

WMG certainly means business in Africa. In March 2019, it signed a deal with Nigerian independent label Chocolate City, then in May 2021 it acquired label WCB-Wasafi through a deal with its artist-founder Diamond Platnumz.

This is all part of a bigger picture of expansion in Africa by global music companies, including major labels and distributors.

Universal Music Group launched Def Jam Africa in May 2020, for example, then teamed up with Senegalese-French rapper Booba on a new imprint called 92i Africa in July 2021.

On the distribution side, Africori’s homegrown rivals include Freeme, founded by former Sony Music exec Michael Ugwu, while CD Baby and TuneCore both announced their moves in the region in February 2021. Apple’s artist development subsidiary Platoon has also been very active in Africa.

Africa will be a spotlight topic for the NY:LON Connect conference next week, organised by Music Biz and Music Ally.

MRC Data’s Helena Kosinski will be presenting new data on the continent’s music markets; UMG’s Sipho Dlamini and Franck Kacou will be taking part in a keynote interview; and founder of the Music Business Academy for Africa Godwin Tom will be moderating a panel with YouTube’s Addy Awofisayo, 1020 Group of Companies’ Nothando Migogo and Diamond Platnumz’s manager Sallam Sharaf.

South African artist Busiswa will also be speaking at the online event, which you can find more details about here.

EarPods and phone

Tools: platforms to help you reach new audiences

Tools :: Wyng

Through Music Ally’s internal marketing campaign tracking, we’ve recently discovered an interesting website by the…

Read all Tools >>

Music Ally's Head of Insight

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *