Warner Music Group (WMG) has entered a new partnership deal with Chocolate City, the influential Nigerian record label with a roster of stars that includes Femi Kuti, son of Afrobeat trailblazer Fela, MI Abaga and others.
Under the new deal, which was announced Thursday (May 28), Chocolate City artists will join WMG’s repertoire and receive the support of the company’s distribution and artist services via its independent label services division ADA.
The deal, which is designed to broaden the reach of Chocolate City’s roster of artists across the world, includes a strategic, reciprocal marketing agreement with WMG South Africa. WMG will also financially invest in Chocolate City to assist in its mission of signing and developing promising local talent.
Meanwhile, Chocolate City co-founders Audu Maikori and Paul Okeugo, along with executive vps Jude Abaga and Aibee Abidoye, will continue to lead the company.
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LAGOS, MARCH 28TH 2019 – Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced a pioneering partnership with Chocolate City, the most influential independent record label in Nigeria. The partnership will dramatically grow the reach of African artists around the world, and will create new opportunities for global superstars in the region. Chocolate City will continue to be led by Co-Founders Audu Maikori and Paul Okeugo and EVP of Imprints, Jude Abaga and EVP of Recorded Music Aibee Abidoye. 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. Partnership Creates New Opportunities for African Talent Around the World, as well as for Global Superstars in Africa. Under the terms of the proposed deal, music from these 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. Special shout out to the whole team – @aps981 and @temilade who worked tirelessly on this deal.
Other Chocolate City artists include M.I. Abaga, Dice Ailes, Nosa, ClassiQ, Ruby Gyang, Blaqbonez, C Kay and Street Billionaires. Its catalog also includes popular artists like as Brymo, Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz.
“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.” Chocolate City Group CEO Audu Maikori said in a statement.
In his own statement, The Warner Music executive vp Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa Alfonso Perez Soto said:
“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.” He added.
This is the second partnership WMG has entered into with an African company in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the label signed a major licensing deal with popular African streaming and downloading service Boomplay.