Sony Music Entertainment West Africa’s pioneering Managing Director Michael Ugwu has announced his exit from the company after a turbulent 5-year period of making the record label’s mark on Africa’s unexplored music scene. ‘Where is.
âToday is my last official day as the pioneering CEO of Sony Music Entertainment West Africa. I am very proud to have anchored the first major label in Nigeria, validating the massive efforts of the independent sector in the meteoric growth of the music business in Nigeria.
âDespite all the current challenges that we face as a nation state, suffice to say that the Nigerian music industry is a sector that makes us all extremely proud,â Ugwu said on his Instagram page while announcing the exit.
During his tenure as Managing Director, he spearheaded unprecedented historic deals for top African talent, including Davido and Wizkid, which are still signed to the Sony label.
He was also instrumental in signing Nigerian rapper, singer and songwriter YCee, whose Ycee contract “Juice” became the most widely broadcast track in Sony Music Africa history.
While this unique deal comes with unforeseen challenges, Ugwu showed tremendous leadership and saw the differences resolved prior to his release from the label.
Another historic feat he accomplished during his time was the licensing of Sony Music’s entire music catalog to Africa’s largest mobile telecommunications network, MTN via the Music Plus service developed by Huawei – a deal that took an arduous three years to negotiate, making Sony the first major label to do so.
âFrom an international perspective, one of my favorite highlights was bringing Jidenna, Sylvia RhÃ´ne and their two teams to Lagos and Enugu, Nigeria (Igbo kwenu!).
âThe most recent highlights would be seeing Lil Nas X breaking the record for longest run of all time at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (17+ weeks) as well as the release of the album ‘The Gift “from BeyoncÃ© to Columbia Records,” Ugwu remembers her accomplishments.
On Byeonce’s recently released album The Gift, in which he played a pivotal role until birth, he said: stars in the US market, big thumbs up to all involved. After all, collaboration has been and will continue to be essential on both the creative and the business side of the business. “
Speaking on the music entertainment scene in Nigeria, the Music Director said the African music industry must take advantage of global best practices and technologies, if it is to continue to thrive.
âFrom a local business perspective to a global business perspective, we must always recognize that there is a symbiotic relationship between creators, distributors, independents, majors and DSPs and everyone in the world. of today’s music.
âI’m lucky to have met and delivered for some superstar artists, but I’m even more proud to have met, worked with and learned from some of the best leaders in the global music industry. I have now been involved in almost every segment of the modern music industry value chain and continue to learn a lot about these relationships and structures.
“In this time of opportunity, awareness and direct opportunities for artists, unless the big labels deploy considerable resources in a market like Nigeria, they will not add spectacular value to the ecosystem of artists. any way, “he said.
He added: âTechnology has given creators a huge advantage to develop their careers independently and as the industry continues to grow, the majors will hopefully find their rightful place in the local ecosystem in Nigeria. and in Africa, because in truth we all need each other to continue. to create local and global value and make it a truly âsustainableâ sector.
Ugwu said he was moving on to his next challenge, his priority being his start-up, Freeme Digital – Nigeria’s first world-class label services platform that he founded in 2013 to ensure that artists and creators are heard, bought and paid for their works both locally and internationally.
âIt’s a super exciting time to be an entrepreneur in the creative space,â he noted.