The world’s leading music company, Universal Music Group (UMG) is expanding its footprint in Africa as Afrobeat continues to take the world by storm, with Nigerian artistes being the major force behind the crossover.
Universal Music on Monday, January 4, announced the appointment of Nigeria’s Chinedu Okeke as Managing Director of its Nigerian operations following a major shake-up of its African team. He’s expected to lead the development and expansion of UMG in the country and other English-speaking markets in West Africa.
Okeke, who will be based in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, will report to Sipho Dlamini who has been promoted to CEO, Universal Music South Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dlamini joined UMG in 2016 as the Managing Director of its South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa operations, the position he held until his promotion.
The group also appointed an award-winning branding and marketing executive, Elouise Kelly as the Chief Operating Officer, Universal Music South Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She will also be based in Johannesburg, South Africa to assist Dlamini in his role. Prior to her appointment, Kelly was a Managing Director at Ogilvy South Africa, a global advertising and media giant.
According to a Bloomberg report, Dlamini revealed that the company also opened an office in Ivory Coast to explore the francophone music industry.
“There has never been a more exciting time for African music around the world, as it continues to influence and inspire culture and creativity while reaching a wider audience globally each day through streaming. We are thinking long term and looking to build lasting infrastructure in order to support African talent for years to come. We want to expand the possibilities for that talent to reach new audiences around the world, “Dlamini said.
In 2019, Africa and the Middle East music industries reportedly recorded a total of $100 million. With UMG planning to sign more African musicians and build more recording infrastructures on the continent, the is strategically positioning to take advantage of Africa’s large youth population and tech adoption in order to secure streaming revenue.
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