What Does Universal Music Group’s Majority Stake In Mavin Mean To Afrobeats?

What Does Universal Music Group’s Majority Stake In Mavin Mean To Afrobeats?

What does Universal Music Group's majority stake in Mavin mean to Afrobeats?

Don Jazzy and Tega

What does Universal Music Group’s majority stake in Mavin mean to Afrobeats?

A few months after Music Business Worldwide reported Mavin Records’ intention to sell or receive investments, Universal Music Group bought a majority stake in the Afrobeats powerhouse.

This is not the first time the Afrobeats powerhouse, Mavin Records, founded by Nigeria’s foremost music producer, entrepreneur, and recording artist, Michael Collins, best known as Don Jazzy, has received an investment. In 2019, Mavin Records received a multi-million dollar investment from Kupanda Holdings.

The investment gave the Tega Oghenejebo-led music company the financial muscle to sign exceptional talents like RemaAyra StarrBoy SpyceMagixx, and more. It allowed them to compete at a global level with partnerships with Virgin Music, Platoon, Vydia, and more.

In October 2023, reports coming from Music Business Worldwide claimed Mavin Records, home to global superstars like Rema and Ayra Starr were actively looking for investment opportunities or considering a full sale.

There were rumours of interest from Universal Music Group (UMG), HYBE, and various music asset investors within the financial sector.

On Monday, February 26, 2024, UMG revealed they had reached an agreement with Don Jazzy for a majority stake in Mavin Global. Before now, Universal Music Group had tried to set up Universal Music West Africa and Universal Music Nigeria but has not been able to achieve major success with these African offices.

Reacting to the deal, Don Jazzy said: “I’m proud of the artists, careers and brand we’ve built that have made Mavin the force it is today. In this historic partnership with UMG, we will continue that mission in Africa and across the globe.”

Mavin Records, Chief Operating Officer , Tega Oghenejebo referred to UMG as an ideal partner following their history of collaborations with Rema signed to Virgin Music, Republic partnering for Ayra Starr, and Interscope for Lifesize Teddy.

In his words, ” With our proven history of collaborations within the UMG family, we have a strong belief that they are the ideal partner for the next phase of our growth, given the diversity and potential of our business.

UMG is home to some of the world’s foremost music entrepreneurs and artists, making them a perfect match for our aspirations. By collaborating with UMG, we are dedicated to cultivating a vibrant creative environment that propels African music to new heights on the global stage.”

Though the actual percentage of the company acquired by UMG is yet to be made public, it is clear that UMG is a majority shareholder, which indirectly makes Mavin Global a foreign company.

But what does this really mean to Mavin Records and Afrobeats?

Nigerian music executives and stakeholders react to UMG’s acquisition of majority stake in Mavin Records

This writer had a conversation with some music executives and industry stakeholders to get their thoughts on UMG becoming a majority stakeholder in Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records.

Ademola Ogundele, the founder of NotJustOk, sees it as a great move for Mavin Records.

Responding to how this will affect Mavin Global as a foreign company, Ogundele said, “In terms of Mavin not being a Nigerian company, it hasn’t been a Nigerian company for a while, and to grow, it had to find the capital to develop and mature into what it has become today. Even though, its Nigerian entity still exists and will continue to exist.

“This sale gives more credibility to the genre and increases the appetite for Afrobeats as a genre in the marketplace. It will also inspire growing music labels in Afrobeats and Africa,” he added.

Dolapo Amusat, founder of WeTalkSound, believes it’s a significant achievement. Amusat is hopeful this will encourage early-stage investors to take the kind of bet Kupanda Holdings took on Mavin back in 2019. In his words, “As someone who has been advocating for financing and proper structuring of creative ventures, the announcement gets me excited and substantiates the clamour for better structure and fundraising of creative ventures. It will definitely open doors and set a landmark precedent for the industry, and hopefully, we see early-stage investors also take the kind of bet that Kupanda Holdings took on Mavin back in 2019.”

Kent Eduok, Head of Distribution at Kan-Garoo & former Music Operations Manager at Triller, believes it is a big win for the label. According to Eduok, it brings in much-needed funds and could help Mavins promote its artists globally.

“Foreign investment in African music companies, like this acquisition, has been happening more frequently, and it has helped the growth of Afrobeats in some sense. However, I’d also like to see Nigerian music companies grow through partnerships and joint ventures, rather than relying solely on foreign investors. This could help in terms of retaining the identity and culture of these companies and that of the genre,” he added.

However, Ayomide Oriowo, the co-founder of Turntable Charts, does not see anything new in the deal between UMG and Mavin Global. Oriowo said, “It’s not special. A lot of companies have been doing this in recent times. It doesn’t change anything (or much). Things will continue as they are—or at least Afrobeats (under Mavin) will have better access to funding and other opportunities.”

As with other companies under the Universal Music Group, Mavin will retain autonomy over its strategy and future talent development to offer UMG the opportunity to partner with proven local executives and experienced A&R professionals. However, one can only wonder to what level will Mavin Global have autonomy.

Joshua Iyamu, Senior Manager, Content Strategy, Audiomack (Africa), sees it as a significant milestone for Mavin as well as Afrobeats.

He said, “It’s an opportunity for Mavin to leverage UMG’s extensive network to amplify the artists while still retaining creative independence. It’s a strong vote of confidence in the vision of Don Jazzy and his team. This deal is a testament to the growing influence and commercial potential of Afrobeats. It is a signal that Afrobeats is solidified as a global powerhouse.

Ayomide Tayo, a media consultant, music executive, and co-host of the 234 Essential podcast, says even though Mavin Global will move away from being a Nigerian company legally, it will remain a Nigerian company by culture. When asked if he thinks it will affect Mavin Records’ modus operandi, he said, “There is an international player in the picture. There will be some changes in the modus operandi of Mavin records. However, the vision will remain the same with Don Jazzy in the helm of affairs.”

Obinna Agwu, a former Artist relations manager at Boomplay, explains that TPG, a global alternative asset manager who invested in Mavin Records alongside Kupanda in 2019, simply exited Mavin Global. He also stated that this shares some similarities to the Chocolate City deal with Warner Music Group and the YBNL deal with Empire.

In his words, “This might not necessarily be a payout for Don Jazzy and the original Mavin crew. This is pretty much a change of partners, and this time a stronger partner and a partner that is more relevant to what they are building.”

Mr Favourable

Favour Anthony (Mr Favourable) Is A Nigerian Music & General News Blogger, Artist, Comedian, Online Promoter, Web Developer . He Is The CEO & >>> For Your Massive Promotion Call/WhatsApp:- +2349030967298

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