By Ferdinand Ekechukwu
Universal Music France (UMF), a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), a world leader in music-based entertainment, on Monday May 11, announced a strategic partnership deal with The Aristokrat Group, a prominent African entertainment company which operates from Lagos, Nigeria and is best known for discovering and developing one of the biggest acts in the African music industry today, Burna Boy.
With more than a decade of experience in developing young African talent, Aristokrat represents the spirit and the sound of New Afrika. This strategic partnership consists of both a label deal, as well as a publishing deal through Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). Aristokrat Group and Universal Music Group 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.
The first recording artists signed to the label are Kel P, Jujuboy Star and T’neeya. Kel P is a highly 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. T’neeya is a Cameroonian singer-songwriter. All Aristokrat Records artists will be signed and distributed in partnership with Caroline France, a Universal Music France label.
In addition, the publishing partnership with UMPG will enable Aristokrat to further discover and develop African songwriters, artists and producers globally, and to maximise creative and collaborative opportunities for its talent worldwide. The first publishing signings are Kel P, Jujuboy Star and Saszy Afroshii, a fast-rising female producer from Lagos.
In announcing the partnership, 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!”
According to Bertil David, MD, Universal Music Publishing France, “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, noted that “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.”
The Aristokrat Group has expanded at a steady rate and is now present throughout the entire media and entertainment value chain.
With a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries, UMG has in recent years expanded its operations within Africa with offices established in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Lagos (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and Johannesburg (South Africa), with Casablanca (Morocco) launching Spring 2020.