Nigerian music label, Chocolate City, signs new deal with Warner Music Group

By Inemesit Udodiong
Afrobeat, a fusion of African pop, dance, and hip hop, is having a great moment right now. All over the world, people are listening, dancing and buying tickets to sold-out shows by Nigerian artists.

It is also topping streaming and airplay charts across the US and Europe. Earlier this year, Davido‘s 2017 hit single, ‘Fall’, became the longest charting Nigerian song on American Billboard chart. It was the most Shazamed song by New York radio listeners in 2018.

Now, New York-based Warner Music Groupjoins the likes of Universal Music Group andSony Music, who have already boarded the Afrobeat train. The world’s third largest record label has a new partnership with Nigerian music label Chocolate City.

Commenting on this deal, 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.”

He continued, “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 a 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.”

Temi Adeniji, Director, International Strategy and Operations, Warner Music, added, “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.”

ALSO READ: After dominating the African music industry, Davido is set to win over the U.S

What does this deal mean for the Nigerian music label?

Audu Maikori, group chief executive officer (CEO) of Chocolate City, shed some light on the partnership in a statement released today Thursday, March 28, 2019.

In his words, “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.”

With this new deal, Chocolate City acts like Femi Kuti, M.I Abaga, Nosa, and Blaqbonez,will have access to stronger global services and reach.

Warner will also financially invest in the label’s talent development and international distribution.

Chocolate City’s core management - Paul Okeugo, Chocolate City co-founder, Jude Abaga and Aibee Abidoye, its executive vice presidents - will retain their leadership positions in the company.

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