Warner Music has acquired a majority stake in Africori, the digital music distribution, rights management and label services company it partnered with less than two years ago as part of an ongoing expansion into the African continent.
Financial terms were not disclosed, though the companies said on Wednesday (Jan. 12) that Africori would continue to operate independently with current CEO Yoel Kenan remaining in place.
WMG and Africori’s initial pairing, announced in April 2020, gave the label giant access to Africori’s network of artists and first option on international licenses for all new signings. The deal enabled Warner’s independent label services division ADA to distribute and promote Africori’s acts internationally. By taking a majority stake in Africori, WMG sees the potential to become the continent’s top distributor and score more wins like they did with Master KG, the South African DJ/producer whose track “Jerusalema” landed on the year-end Billboard Global 200 chart.
“With Master KG, we worked closely with the Africori team to take a local hit and connect it with people around the world,” commented Temi Adeniji, managing director of Warner Music South Africa. “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.”
Launched in 2009 and based in London and Johannesburg, Africori is the largest digital music distribution company in Sub-Saharan Africa, delivering to a network of both international and African platforms. Over the past decade, the company says it has worked with more than 7,000 artists and 850 clients, and is the market leader in a number of African countries. Aside from Master KG, Africori is also home to artists including Ben Soul, Blxckie, Focalistic , Kamo Mphela, Kwesta,Jux, Makhadzi, Nviiri the Storyteller and Rexxie.
Other moves by WMG in Africa in recent years include a partnership with Nigeria’s leading indie label Chocolate City and licensing deals with Audiomack and Boomplay.
Alfonso Perez-Soto, president of 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.”