Warner acquires Africa-based music distributor Africori

Warner Music Group (WMG) has acquired a majority stake in Africori, a prominent African music distribution, music rights management and artist development company.

With offices in Johannesburg, London and Lagos, Africori currently services 7,000 artists and 850 clients and reports that in 2021, its artists generated hundreds of millions of audio streams and billions of YouTube views. The company also reports to have recorded strong revenue growth across all major DSPs.

WMG says that Africori will continue to operate as an independent company, with current CEO, Yoel Kenan, remaining in his post.

WMG first invested in Africori in early 2020. The original deal gave WMG access to what it calls “Africa’s largest catalog and A&R network”, as well as enabling WMG to establish a presence in many African markets for the first time.

In addition, WMG’s publishing division, Warner Chappell Musicinked a global deal with Africori, also in 2020.

According to a media release announcing today’s news, WMG says that its decision to take a majority stake in Africori could see it “become the number one distributor in Africa” and furthermore, that the deal “will open up more opportunities for African artists to tap into the global Warner Music network and enjoy international success”.

WMG cites South African artist Master KG as an artist success story to have come from the companies working together, having “upstreamed” Master KG into Warner Music France, which WMG says led to his track, Jerusalema, becoming a “major international hit”.

As well as Master KG, Africori is also home to some of Africa’s biggest artists such as Ben Soul, Blxckie, Focalistic , Kamo Mphela, Kwesta, Jux, Makhadzi, Nviiri the Storyteller and Rexxie.

This is WMG’s latest investment in Africa, after it expanded its presence in the wider region in recent years through partnerships and deals with Chocolate City, Diamond Platnumz and his label WCB-Wasafi, Coleske and Ziiki Media.

“SINCE PARTNERING WITH AFRICORI, WE HAVE ESTABLISHED A COLLABORATIVE AND STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP THAT HAS RESULTED IN SOME IMPRESSIVE RESULTS ON A GLOBAL LEVEL.”

ALFONSO PEREZ-SOTO, WARNER 

Alfonso Perez-Soto, President, Emerging Markets, Warner Recorded Music, said: “Since partnering with Africori, we have established a collaborative and strategic partnership that has resulted in some impressive results on a global level.

“Yoel Kenan and his team have done an incredible job building a company that is a real force of nature in Africa and, by bringing them into the Warner Music ecosystem, we believe we can give them deeper support as we aim to take African music even more global.”

“THIS NEW DEAL POSITIONS US AS AFRICA’S LEADING DISTRIBUTOR AND I’M CONFIDENT THAT IN JOINING FORCES, WARNER MUSIC SOUTH AFRICA WILL BE IN A GREAT POSITION TO DELIVER MORE WINS LIKE ‘JERUSALEMA’ IN THE FUTURE.”

TEMI ADENIJI, WARNER

Temi Adeniji, Managing Director of Warner Music South Africa and SVP, Strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa, Warner Music, added: “With Master KG, we worked closely with the Africori team to take a local hit and connect it with people around the world.

“This new deal positions us as Africa’s leading distributor and I’m confident that in joining forces, Warner Music South Africa will be in a great position to deliver more wins like Jerusalema in the future.”

“AFRICAN MUSIC IS BOOMING ALL AROUND THE WORLD AND SOME OF OUR ARTISTS ARE RIGHT AT THE HEART OF THE EXPLOSION.”

YOEL KENAN, AFRICORI

Yoel Kenan, CEO, Africori, said: “African music is booming all around the world and some of our artists are right at the heart of the explosion.

“Through our partnership, Warner Music has proven that it is the perfect home for Africori and our artists going forward. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with them as we break more artists on a global scale.”

Original article by Murray Stassen for Music Business Worldwide

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