Universal Music Group has expanded its operations in French-speaking Africa, with the launch of a new strategic division within French-speaking markets.
The team will be led by music industry executive, artist manager and live promoter Moussa Soumbounou (pictured), who has been appointed as MD, Western Africa. He will report to Olivier Nusse, CEO, Universal Music France and operate from a new Universal Music Africa (UMA) office in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire).
Africa has long been seen as market with increasing potential for the music industry and the opportunities received renewed focus at MIDEM last month.
The UMG division will targeting local music talent in order to maximise commercial opportunities for artists and labels throughout French-speaking Africa to reach audiences globally. Recent artist signings to the label include Kiff No Beat and DJ Arafat from Ivory Coast, Toofan from Togo and Locko and Tenor from Cameroon.
Olivier Nusse, CEO, Universal Music France said: “I am delighted to announce the expansion of our strategic operations across Africa under the leadership of Moussa Soumbounou and his team, which 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.”
Live activity for the new Universal Music team has included a Pan-African tour for French urban artist Niska, alongside French tours for African artists including Tenor. UMG is also working with parent company Vivendi, and several of its divisions including CanalOlympia, Vivendi Village, Canal+ and Havas, to support and develop the live music industry ecosystem throughout the continent.
This new division will work in partnership with existing UMG operations, including North African territories and alongside key markets across English-speaking Africa in order to provide pan-African talent with a launch pad for wider international success.
The Western Africa operation will cover Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles and Togo.