Universal Music Group acquires Nigerian music label Mavin

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Universal Music Group has acquired Nigeria’s Mavin Global, one of Africa’s largest and most successful independent record labels.

The deal remains subject to regulatory approval but is expected to close in September, the companies announced in a statement on Monday. The details of the sale were not released, but analysts have placed Mavin’s valuation as high as $150 million.

Mavin has been a force in the global rise of Afrobeats since it was founded by Don Jazzy in 2012, thanks in part to its ability to launch the careers of stars such as Rema, whose international hit “Calm Down” has been streamed more than 10 billion times on various platforms, and Ayra Starr, who was nominated this year for the first-ever Grammy award for Best African Music Performance.

The deal was meant to create “more opportunities to break more talent globally, expand the reach of Mavin’s existing roster and continue building its business into a super-serving, pan-African entertainment company,” Universal said. It will also enable the establishment of an artist academy to develop new talent, and an executive leadership program to create a career pipeline for professionals in the African music industry.

Universal said Mavin would retain autonomy over its strategy and future artist development, and would continue to be led by the legendary Nigerian producer Don Jazzy and COO Tega Oghenejobo.

The deal is a sign of how African music has surged in popularity in recent years, driven by Afrobeats and Amapiano, among other emerging genres. Other companies that had expressed an interest in acquiring Mavin included HYBE, the studio behind K-Pop superstars BTS.

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“By collaborating with UMG, we are dedicated to cultivating a vibrant creative environment that propels African music to new heights on the global stage,” Oghenejobo said.

Africa’s music industry has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, with African music increasingly featuring on charts, award shows and playlists.

Streams of Afrobeats on Spotify grew 550% between 2017 and 2022, with the genre played 13 billion times in 2022. Africa also represented the fastest growing continent for recorded music consumption that year, according to music industry association IFPI, with sub-Saharan Africa growing 34.7% year-over-year.