expansion into Nigeria in 2018, plus its acquisition of a majority stake in Kenyan label AI Records.
Today (May 11) brought a new headline in this story: Universal Music France (UMF) has struck a strategic partnership with Lagos, Nigeria-based The Aristokrat Group, which is best known for discovering and developing breakout African talent Burna Boy.
The partnership consists of both a label deal, as well as a publishing deal through Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG).
Founded in 2009, The Aristokrat Group currently houses a record label, touring and event production company, film and television production company, music publishing company, and digital media company.
Aristokrat Group and Universal Music Group say they will work closely together to “discover and develop exciting new African talent, giving artists and songwriters the opportunity to reach global audiences with support from Universal Music Group companies around the world”.
All Aristokrat Records artists will be signed and distributed in partnership with Caroline France, a Universal Music France label.
The first recording artists signed to the label are Kel P, Jujuboy Star and Tneeya.
Kel P is a respected Nigerian producer, who worked with Burna Boy on his Grammy-nominated album African Giant, and recently worked with Wizkid on his Starboy, The Soundman Vol 1 EP.
Jujuboy Star is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and producer, while T’neeya is a Cameroonian singer and songwriter.
The first publishing signings to the partnership are Kel P, Jujuboy Star and Saszy Afroshii, a fast-rising female producer from Lagos.
Olivier Nusse, CEO, Universal Music France, said, “I am very proud that Aristokrat Group has chosen Universal Music France as its strategic partner to reach a global audience. We are convinced that Aristokrat represents the sound of New Africa and we look forward to working with our UMG labels globally to ensure that people around the world, can discover and dance to this sound!”
Bertil David, MD, Universal Music Publishing France, said, “Aristokrat is one of the most important voices in Africa right now. The quality of their A&R, their artistic and creative vision and entrepreneurship is both unique and progressive. We are very proud at UMPG to be able to partner with Aristokrat to help them achieve the global presence they deserve.”
Piriye Isokrari, Founder and CEO, The Aristokrat Group, said, “This is an exciting time for African musicians, producers and companies such as ours.
“Over the last decade, we’ve been at the forefront of cultivating this sound and building sustainable structures locally and we are happy to be able to bring our music and culture to the global market through this partnership with the Universal Music Group.”
Pictured L-R:Jean-Charles MARIANI, Chief Digital Officer, Universal Music France / Bertil DAVID, MD, Universal Music Publishing France / Eneibimo APULU, Chief Operating Officer, The Aristokrat Group / Tinu ADESUGBA, EVP Content & Communications, The Aristokrat Group / Piriye ISOKRARI, CEO, The Aristokrat Group / KEL-P, Producer / Olivier NUSSE, CEO, Universal Music France / Steve JERVIER, A&R Consultant, The Aristokrat Group]
By Tim Ingham