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Virgin Music Group opens Nigeria office, appoints Ikazoboh as head

WITH a mission to build and reach the largest possible audience for its developing and established artistes as well as label partners respectively, global leading independent artiste and label services company, Virgin Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group (UMG) global network, has launched its operations in Nigeria, with respected music executive, Olukorede ‘Kay’ Ikazoboh appointed as head.

The Nigerian office establishment follows Virgin Music Group’s foray into the African continent in June last year. The music distribution company now boasts partnerships with over 50 labels and more than 100 artistes from across 25 African countries.

Among the first signees announced by Virgin Music in the continent is Dvpper, one of Nigeria’s hottest Afrobeats labels and Reekado Banks, a former Maven Records signee but now a solo artiste, among others.

Speaking at the official launch in Lagos, Virgin Music International Managing Director, Michael Roe said the music company has played a major role in many of the world’s emerging popular music genres, including Afrobeats.

His words: Mono Mono, The Funkies, Western artistes have been coming to Nigeria to understand the polyrhythms of this country for 50, 60 years. Paul McCartney came to Apapa in 1973 to record Band on the Run his biggest album. Ginger Baker drove all the way from London to Lagos to sit on Fela’s tip feet and Tony Allen’s feet to learn some rhythms. 2023, it’s changed completely; rather than artistes coming here, Nigeria is going out into the world. The whole world is singing and dancing around the sounds of Nigeria.”

Commenting on Ikazoboh, he said: “Kay is known throughout Nigeria as a champion of independent labels and artiste 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.”

For the co-CEO, Nat Pastor, “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.”

A highly respected music manager via her own Kimani Moore Entertainment, Ikazoboh has helped to guide the careers of such artistes as Odunsi the Engine, Mowalola, and Tay lwar. She also served in a variety of positions in emerging markets for Warner Music Group.

In a short speech delivered at the launch, Ikazoboh said, “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 artistes to help them build their fan bases both here and around the world.”

“My whole team is here; they flew in from the US and London. We are just here to make sure that the industry is growing. I am truly honoured to lead this mission with my team and look forward to the incredible journey ahead,” she added.

Ikazoboh noted that as one of the largest independent distribution companies in the world, Virgin Music Group offer global solutions with the patience, commitment, and experience needed to succeed in today’s music business, adding that the company has played a major role in many of the world’s emerging popular music genres, including Afrobeats, música Mexicana, K-pop and others.

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