The Orchard, a distribution and artist and label services company owned by Sony Music Entertainment, is expanding its operations in Africa, with the appointment of Lanre Masha as Director, West Africa.
Stationed at the company’s Lagos office, he will report to Prashant Bahadur, EVP, Head of Strategy, and will collaborate with Ben Oldfield, VP, Market Development for Africa.
Prior to his appointment, Masha served an eight-year tenure at Trace Media, where he was the General Manager for Music and Editorial, playing a role in supporting and building artist presence locally and internationally.
He also held marketing and sales roles at Pepsico in Chicago. Masha currently serves as the music curator of Art X Live!, a division of Artx Lagos, and is a founding member of MARS, the home to breakout afro-pop star YKB, who has already received co-signs from Joeboy and Finesse hitmaker Pheelz.
In his new role at The Orchard, Masha will spearhead the company’s operations in West Africa, offering distribution expertise, release strategies, and regional support to the company’s roster of artists and label clients.
During his short time with the company, Masha has already facilitated the company’s foray into French-speaking West Africa and Ghana, and bolstered the Lagos team.
Through The Orchard, Masha has already signed Ghanian hip-hop duo R2Bees, which has collaborated with artists such as Wizkid, Davido, King Promise, and Wande Coal. The duo has nearly 432,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Masha has also led the signings of Nigerian gospel artist Ty Bello, Afro-fusion artist MUIS, Afro-pop sensation YKB, and Melodi from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
“West Africa is no longer a young market. We are leading the global expansion of music from the region, connecting artists with fans worldwide.”
Commenting on his new role, Masha said: “West Africa is no longer a young market. We are leading the global expansion of music from the region, connecting artists with fans worldwide. The Orchard’s cutting-edge technology, vast global network, entrepreneurial spirit, and best-in class solutions to not only build, but sustain a global business, is how we offer unparalleled support to our clients. I look forward to working with the team to bring the rich talent of West Africa to the world.”
Prashant Bahadur, EVP, Head of Strategy at The Orchard, added: “The Orchard has been invested in the musically rich African Diaspora over the last ten years. We continue to foster long-term relationships with our clients in the region as we expand.
“Lanre’s deep immersion in the Nigerian music scene coupled with his global background as a marketer and curator makes him uniquely qualified to grow The Orchard’s value proposition for our clients, while offering a tailored approach sensitive to the varied needs of the region.”
“Lanre’s deep immersion in the Nigerian music scene coupled with his global background as a marketer and curator makes him uniquely qualified to grow The Orchard’s value proposition for our clients.”
Prashant Bahadur, The Orchard
In addition, The Orchard recently announced its second annual sponsorship of MBA for Africa, investing in the development of the 2023 edition of “The MBA Talent Project,” an educational initiative guiding students’ journeys from music creation to release.
The Orchard’s involvement covers education and mentorship, as well as marketing, promotional support, and global distribution of the final output.
In other client updates, Lojay is set to release a new single in November, while Patoranking unveiled a new project called World Best in September.
The Orchard says it continues to extend its footprint in Africa, participating in music conferences in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Lesotho, and hosting the inaugural ‘Spring Bloom’ event for clients and partners in South Africa, featuring a special visit by The Orchard co-founder Richard Gottehrer.
Last year, The Orchard expanded its team by hiring a raft of executives in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria; Mpumi Phillips was appointed Director of Distribution in South Africa; while Beth Achitsa was appointed as Artist & Label Relations Manager in Nairobi, Kenya.
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