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Universal Music Group-owned artist and label services company Virgin Music Group has expanded its operations into Lagos, Nigeria.

Respected music executive, Olukorede “Kay” Ikazoboh has been named Head of Virgin Music Nigeria and will oversee the company’s operations in the market.

Among the first deals announced in the region by Virgin include partnerships with Dvpper, described by Virgin as “one of Nigeria’s hottest Afrobeats labels”, solo artist Reekado Banks, as well as a single with Darkoo featuring Ayra Starr.

A widely respected music manager via her own Kimani Moore Entertainment, Ikazoboh has helped to guide the careers of artists such as Odunsi the Engine, Mowalola, and Taylwar.

She also served in a variety of positions in Emerging Markets for Warner Music Group.

Universal Music Group launched Virgin Music Group as a new global division in September 2022, consolidating all of its existing artist services businesses.

Those businesses include (i) Ingrooves, the music distribution and marketing firm acquired by UMG in 2019, and (ii) Virgin Music Label and Artist Services, which was launched by Universal in 2021.

Both became subsidiaries of the new global VMG division, alongside mtheory Artist Partnerships, which UMG ingested as part of the ‘acqui-hire’ of mtheory’s founders (JT Myers and Nat Pastor) as Co-CEOs of VMG.

Virgin Music Group has had a presence in Africa since 2021 when the company, via Ingrooves, acquired South Africa’s Electromode, a prominent independent music distributor in the region.

Last year Virgin also launched a dedicated African label services division with more than 15,000 titles, 50 label partners and 100 + artists from more than 25 African countries.

Virgin Music Group is also expanding elsewhere in the world, like in the Middle East for example, where Universal Music Group recently acquired UAE-based Chabaka Music, with that company now becoming part of UMG’s Virgin Music Group.

Virgin Music claims to have “played a major role in many of the world’s emerging popular music genres, including Afrobeats, música Mexicana, K-pop and others”.

“The global appetite for the incredible musical creativity springing from Africa has never been stronger.”

Nat Pastor, Virgin Music Group 

Nat Pastor, co-CEO of Virgin Music Group said: “The global appetite for the incredible musical creativity springing from Africa has never been stronger.

“Establishing a presence in Nigeria is another important step in our commitment to serving independent African artists and entrepreneurs throughout the region.”

Michael Roe, Managing Director Virgin Music International, said:  “Kay is known throughout Nigeria as a champion of independent labels and artist development.

“Her relationships, expertise and insight into the local market make her the perfect executive to lead our operations in this very important music market.”

“Nigeria has become a hugely important creative hub, producing some of the most exciting music anywhere in the world.”

Olukorede “Kay” Ikazoboh

Added Ikazoboh: “Nigeria has become a hugely important creative hub, producing some of the most exciting music anywhere in the world.

“I’m looking forward to working with independent labels and artists to help them build their fan bases both here and around the world. I am truly honored to lead this mission with my team and look forward to the incredible journey ahead.”Music Business Worldwide

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