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Universal Music Group to expand live music offering in Africa

Universal Music Group (UMG) has this week announced it will be expanding current operations in French-speaking Africa. The move will see a new Universal Music Africa division in Ivory Coast, as well as a significant expansion of live music operations throughout the continent in partnership with parent company Vivendi and CanalOlympia.

The expansion aims to discover new and local music talent in French-speaking Africa and provide support for artists in worldwide endeavours. A statement from UMG says the expansion will “provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success.” The team will headed by Moussa Soumbounou, an experienced music industry exec and live promoter.

Olivier Nusse, CEO of Universal Music France comments that the appointment of Soumbounou, “will not only help us to discover and release new talent throughout Africa and other French-speaking markets around the world, but will also increase the creative, commercial, digital and live opportunities available for these artists locally, in France and now globally.”

The expansion will “provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success.”

In recent months, Universal Music Africa has been active in live music scenes across French-speaking Africa. Tours organised include French rapper Niska and Cameroon-born rapper Tenor. Their focus on African live music has also seen them work closely with parent company Vivendi and several of its divisions, including CanalOlympia, Vivendi Village, Canal+ and Havas.

Vivendi has had a sharp focus on developing the ‘live music industry ecosystem’ throughout Africa for some years now. In 2017, the French media conglomerate opened a host of venues across the continent as part of its CanalOlympia network. The media giant reported a ‘dynamic performance’  from its Vivendi Village division in 2017, thanks to a growth in ticketing revenue and more venues opening in West Africa.

Live music throughout Africa continues to grow after a particularly successful few years. As Chin Okeke, of Nigeria’s Gidi Culture Fest explained recently to IQa generation of young, passionate promoters are transforming the market across the continent. Universal Music Africa’s new move aims to further push this success.


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