Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced a pioneering partnership with Chocolate City that will create opportunities for African talents around the world.
The partnership is expected to grow the reach of African artists around the world, and create new opportunities for global superstars in the region.
Under the terms of the proposed deal, music from the artists will join Warner Music’s repertoire, and they will receive the support of the company’s wide-ranging global expertise, including distribution and artist services via ADA – WMG’s independent label services division.
The Chocolate City team will continue to develop local artists and support the management
of WMG’s global superstars across Sub Saharan Africa, including a strategic, reciprocal marketing agreement with WMG South Africa. WMG will also provide financial support for Chocolate City to help achieve its mission of signing and developing the best local talent in this fast-growing market.
Group CEO of Chocolate City, Audu Maikori, said: “At Chocolate City, we have always been passionate about discovering and developing the best talent across Africa and giving them a platform for global growth.
The partnership with Warner Music Group is unique in the sense that our clients get the best of both worlds – curated and bespoke services by a highly
experienced team across Africa and a dedicated global team to further push their music and their brands.”
In addition, Group COO and President of Chocolate City Paul Okeugo, stated: “Our music is truly global and it has long been our vision to create an ecosystem through which the boundless talent in our region can be experienced across the globe – this ground breaking partnership with WMG provides both the access, and capacity to achieve this objective. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities this partnership presents.”
Chairman of Chocolate City, Hakeem Belo-Osagie also stated: “This kind of path breaking alliance is critical for entertainment companies in Nigeria as
they begin to make an entrance unto the world stage. I congratulate the management of both WMG and Chocolate City.”
Executive Vice President, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Warner Music, Alfonso Perez Soto, says: “The music scene in Nigeria is so rich and diverse that it’s important that we develop bespoke entrepreneurial strategies.
At the same time, we’ll keep in mind the lessons learned from other emerging markets, for instance Latin America where we successfully broke local artists globally. We have great affinity with Chocolate City’s creative and ambitious approach and we’re excited about Warner’s role in bringing to life their vision of taking their music worldwide.”
Director, International Strategy and Operations, Warner Music, Temi Adeniji, said: “Nigeria is one of the most exciting music markets in the world and Chocolate City’s trailblazing role in it over the years cannot be overstated. The label will provide us with valuable insight on best practices in the region, as well as on-ground expertise in scouting and developing emerging talent. Our partnership allows for a free exchange of ideas and music that will promote and support local artists, exemplifying WMG’s primary objective in determining our approach to emerging markets.”
Today’s news follows the recently announced deal for WMG’s repertoire to be distributed by local streaming service Boomplay.
Sub-Saharan Africa is an exciting emerging market for music companies. It has a largely youthful population of some 1.1 billion people with increasing access to streaming services thanks to rising smartphone penetration. At the same time, the popularity of Afrobeat and local hip-hop is surging worldwide, attracting the attention of international artists and producers.
Chocolate City is home to a diverse roster of local talent from various genres including: Femi Kuti, four-time Grammy nominated son of the Afrobeat pioneer Fela; hip-hop artist and record producer M.I. Abaga, Afro beats sensation Dice Ailes, Nosa, ClassiQ, Ruby Gyang and promising new acts
Blaqbonez, C Kay and Street Billionaires. In addition, Chocolate
City’s catalogue includes celebrated acts such as Brymo, Ice Prince, and Jesse Jagz. Chocolate City is led by Co-Founders Audu Maikori and Paul Okeugo and ExecutiveVice President of Imprints, Jude Abaga and Executive Vice President of Recorded Music Aibee Abidoye.