Universal targets Africa with new service

STORY: Universal Music Group has launched a service dedicated to independent African labels and artists -

Amid a global media and music brand race to claim a stake in the continent’s music market.

The recently established Virgin Music Africa Label & Artists Service will also digitize out-of-print music catalogues, says Universal Music Africa’s managing director Franck-Alcide Kacou.

"Virgin's ambition is to give a digital life to these recordings, which are in vinyl cassette or CD format and which are not aimed at today's younger public, which has other modes and types of consumption and which is waiting to have access to their heritage on these platforms."

Bolstered by internet and smartphone penetration, media consumption across Africa is changing rapidly.

The continent’s music is also being consumed far beyond its borders – with artists and genres like Afrobeats, Rhumba and Amapiano headlining global concerts and festivals, and topping charts.

Music services like Spotify have also been tapping into the market with dedicated and expanded offerings.

“It is an opportunity for countries that are also experiencing this digital transformation to integrate this heritage into the cultural offer that is on the platforms."

The new service says it has over 15,000 music titles, 50 partner labels and around 100 artists from 25 countries.