Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, has announced the launch of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Africa, (VMA) the latest division of UMG’s global network to launch operations, dedicated to delivering premium and flexible artist and label services to the industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent worldwide, inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label.
The division will focus on supporting the next wave of independent artists talents, labels, influencers, and entrepreneurs from Africa with disruptive innovation and best in class services, to help deliver global success for its roster, and further expand the reach of music culture from across the continent to the vast African diaspora, as well as to new fans and audiences around the world.
The division launches with in excess of 15000 titles in its catalog, with more than fifty 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) and releases from more than 100 of Africa’s leading artists 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. It 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.
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!”
Launched in 1972 in the U.K. by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Records has helped redefine music culture for half a century. Independent music distribution and disruption have been a key catalyst in Virgin’s global success throughout its history: from its pioneering roots in prog, reggae, punk and new wave. Virgin Records also served as home to some of the most influential and reverential artists of the past century, including: David Bowie; The Sex Pistols; Aaliyah; The Rolling Stones; George Michael; Janet Jackson; Lenny Kravitz; Culture Club; Massive Attack; and the Spice Girls.
Speaking in 2021 for the launch of Virgin – Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said: “Virgin ,has long been a name synonymous with disruptive innovation, musical creativity and entrepreneurialism.
We are thrilled to announce the reinvigoration of this iconic music brand as a new model for global distribution and label services, this global launch represents an important evolution of our industry-leading strategy to be an accelerator and vital partner for the music’s best independent artists and entrepreneurs.
” Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Founder, added: “I’m proud that half a century after we opened our first independent record shop in London, the Virgin Music name continues to represent the very best entrepreneurs, innovators, and artists from the world of music today.”