Universal Music Group Sets Sight On Africa As It Signs Stonebwoy, Cina Soul, Others

Ghanaian Reggae/Dancehall Act, Stonebwoy has signed a distribution deal with Universal Music Group.

Stonebwoy was announced as one of the first signees of Universal Music Group West Africa Division on Tuesday July 17, 2018.

UMG is unveiling a Universal Music Nigeria office in Lagos, Nigeria under general manager Ezegozie Eze Jr. The office will work with an existing Johannesburg office with a renewed focus on signing local artists, building at home and taking them pan-African and then global.

The Lagos team, covering Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia, has already signed artists including Ghana’s Stonebwoy, Mr Eazi (Nigeria) and Tekno, the Nigerian singer has been signed in partnership with Island Records in the UK. The team will also handle South Africa-signed Tanzanian artist Vanessa Mdee’s rising popularity in West Africa.

The Lagos office will come under the auspices of Sipho Dlamini, managing director of Universal Music South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.

“We want to try and establish a consistent standard for the development, distribution and marketing of local music and international music,” says Dlamini. “The market has amazing talent, but due to a lack of infrastructure it’s operated in a way that hasn’t aligned with international markets.”

UMG and even some independent entrepreneurs and artists managers think by improving the ecosystem there will be more money to be made because, until now, artists and their managers have focused on negotiating to get paid bigger sums upfront rather than seek contracts or licensing partnerships that build long-term value.

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