Universal Music Buys Majority Stake In Don Jazzy’s Mavin


Universal Music Group has announced a majority investment in Nigeria's Afrobeats powerhouse label Mavin Global.

The Lagos-based label is home to such songs as Rema's "Calm Down" — the Selena Gomez-featuring remix of which was No. 12 on Variety's 2023 Hitmakers chart and is the most-viewed video on YouTube by an African artist — as well as other artists such as Ayra Starr, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille, and more.

The purchase is still subject to regulatory approval and is scheduled to finalize later this year.

Founded in 2012 by artist-producer-executive Michael Collins Ajereh (aka Don Jazzy), Mavin has been instrumental in breaking Afrobeats musicians in Africa and beyond.

Other notable musicians on the label include Crayon, Magixx, Bayanni, Boyspyce, DJ Big N, and Lifesize Teddy. Ayra Starr's single "Rush" was nominated for the inaugural Best African Music Performance Grammy, and its music video is the most viewed by a female Nigerian artist on YouTube.

The Mavin team in Nigeria will be supported by UMG's global network of labels and companies.

Currently distributed internationally (excluding Africa) by Virgin Music Group alongside Rema, Mavin and its roster have already been integrated into UMG's unparalleled network, with multiple signings across U.S. labels, including Republic for Ayra Starr and Interscope for Lifesize Teddy.

According to the announcement, Mavin will maintain complete control over its strategy and future talent development. As part of the arrangement, creator and CEO Don Jazzy and COO Tega Oghenejobo will continue to oversee the company.

The "mission" is based on two initiatives: Mavin's Artist Academy, which trains new talent in music and performance abilities while also connecting them to other members of the roster, and their executive leadership program, which aims to create Africa's next generation of musical potential.

According to the IFPI, Africa was the fastest-growing continent for recorded music consumption in 2022, with Sub-Saharan Africa rising at 34.7% per year, the only region to grow by more than 30%. In the first half of 2023, Afrobeats streams in the US market climbed by 34% year on year.

Don Jazzy stated, "I'm proud of the artists, careers, and brand we've built to make Mavin the force it is today." throughout this historic collaboration with UMG, we will continue that purpose throughout Africa and around the world."

Tega Oghenejobo stated, "With our proven history of collaborations within the UMG family, we have a strong belief that they are the ideal partner for the next phase of our growth, given our business's diversity and potential." UMG is home to some of the world's most prominent music entrepreneurs and musicians, making them an ideal fit for our goals. By cooperating with UMG, we hope to foster a lively creative atmosphere that will catapult African music to new heights on the world stage."

Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, stated, "Our criteria for identifying partners are simple: great musicians, great businesses, and wonderful people. We have discovered great partners in Don Jazzy, Tega, the Mavin Global team, and their artist roster to help us expand. Mavin's talented musicians have been instrumental in transforming Afrobeats into a global phenomenon, and we are delighted to welcome them to the Universal Music Group family."

According to the announcement, TPG has totally exited the business, with Kupanda Capital remaining a minority investor and strategic consultant. Freshfields, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, and Bowmans all provided advice to UMG. Shot Tower Capital represented Mavin in the transaction, and Reed Smith LLP and Olaniwun Ajayi LP served as legal advisers.

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