Universal Music Group launches Nigeria division to grow African presence  

Ezegozie Eze GM Universal Music Nigeria

Universal Music Group (UMG), a subsidiary of French media conglomerate, Vivendi, has announced the launch of a new division in Nigeria as part of efforts by the world’s largest music label to grow its presence in Africa.

The music entertainment group said on Tuesday its new strategic division, Universal Music Nigeria, will operate from Lagos.

Ezegozie Eze Jr., who previously held roles at Channel O Television, Empire Mates Entertainment (Banky W & WizKid) and was a founder of Pan-African creative companies, Republic 54, Alore Group, and Duma Collective, has been appointed general manager.

He will report to Sipho Dlamini, MD, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Managing Director of Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, Sipho Dlamini, said that the Nigeria division will focus on developing artistes and musicians from West Africa countries, particularly Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia.

“Our Nigeria team will support, nurture, and help develop artistes while creating opportunities for new talent from the region to reach the widest possible audience,” said Dlamini.

UMG said the new division will work alongside the label’s existing operations in Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco.

Universal also plans to open a recording studio in Lagos, which would be the label’s second fully purposed studio in Africa alongside another in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The label has signed a host of Nigerian-born artistes including WurlD, Odunsi (the Engine), Tay Iwar, and Ghanaian-born Cina Soul and Stonebwoy.

In addition, the label has recently signed deals with acclaimed Banku singer and songwriter Mr Eazi for pan-African releases, co-signed Nigerian artiste Tekno in conjunction with Island Records UK and Tanzanian singer and songwriter Vanessa Mdee in conjunction with AfroForce1 Records/Universal Music Central Europe/Universal Music South Africa.

“I am delighted to be officially launching Universal Music’s Nigerian division at such an exciting time for African music around the world. The world’s largest music company opening an office within the region is a huge statement of belief in our local music talent. The signings we have already made show our ambition to help our artists reach the widest global audience and we are looking forward to working closely with our UMG label partners around the world to make that happen,” Eze said.