Universal Music Group (UMG) has launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in Africa.
UMG says the new division will focus on supporting the next wave of independent artists, labels, influencers, and entrepreneurs from the region.
Universal launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in February 2021 as a new global division serving independent artists and labels that UMG says is “inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label”.
The new division launches in Africa with in excess of 15,000 titles in its catalog, with more than 50 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).
It also launches with releases from more than 100 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.
UMG claims that the division “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.
The move into Africa follows Virgin Music Label & Artists Services recent expansion of its operations across the West Balkans region, as a new independently operated division.
In July 2021 UMG launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in Brazil.
In March,Virgin Music Label & Artist Services entered into a global partnership with Australia’s largest independent label group, Mushroom, to support and distribute Mushroom artists’ releases worldwide, outside of Australia and New Zealand.
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.”
“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.”
Franck Kacou, Universal Music Africa
Added Kacou: “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.”
“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.”
Olivier Nusse, Universal Music France
Olivier Nusse, CEO & President of Universal Music France added: “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.”Music Business Worldwide