By Emmanuel Legrand
Warner Music Group (WMG) has made a strategic investment in Africori, a leading digital music distribution, music rights management and artist development company in Africa. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Through this agreement, WMG’s ADA division, which handles distribution and services for the independent music community, will be able to tap into Johannesburg-based Africori's catalogue and A&R network, while enabling WMG to establish a presence in many African markets for the first time.
In addition, ADA will "work closely with Africori to distribute and promote its artists internationally through Warner Music’s global network," and will "support Africori’s distribution activities on its existing catalogue" as well as "having a first option on international licenses for all new signings."
A digital pioneer in Africa
Artists using Africori's services include Elzo Jamdong, Jux, Master KG, Nabila, Nyashinski, Pappy Kojo, Sean Tizzle, Sho Madjozi, $pacely and Yung L.
Africori was founded in South Africa in 2009 by Yoel Kenan, a former executive at BMG, MP3.com and Universal. The company has offices in London and Lagos in Nigeria, and partnerships with local companies in many African countries.
Africori has worked to date with over 6,500 artists and 700 labels and has agreements in place with all of the largest digital platforms, such as Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, as well as Aftown, Deedo and Boomplay in Africa. Africori is a member of Merlin, the agency that negotiates licenses with digital platforms on behalf of independent labels.
A global reach for African artists
“I’m delighted that we’ll be working together with Africori, and Yoel Kenan in particular, as they’ve been pioneers, fighting for the interests of artists and the music industry in Africa," said Alfonso Perez Soto, EVP, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Warner Music. "We can harness the power of our global network to take their great African music to a truly global audience.”
Africori CEO Yoel Kenan commented: “We work with incredible artists and have some extremely talented A&Rs spotting fresh new talent; it’ll be really exciting to see them tap into Warner Music’s global network. The music market in Africa is starting to really gain traction and this deal means we’re well-positioned to support our artists as new opportunities open up.”
“Our global team at ADA is super excited to partner with Africori," said Eliah Seton, President, Independent Music and Creator Services at WMG. "There’s so much momentum and incredible music coming out of Africa at the moment. It’s not a question of if, but when we get a new global superstar from the region. So we can’t wait to get to work supporting some of Africa’s most brilliant artists on the global stage.”