Nigerian Record Label Mavin Records Seeking Investment or Sale


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Mavin Records, the hot Nigerian label that’s home to Rema and Ayra Starr, is seeking investment or eying a potential full sale with bidding coming from the the Universal Music Group, HYBE and strong interest from music asset investors in the financial sector, according to sources.

Mavin’s valuation in the proposed deal is above $125 million and could be worth $150 million to $200 million, according to those sources. (It’s unclear if the label owns music publishing and if that is involved.) Sources further say that Shot Tower Capital is shopping the deal.


The move is expected to raise funding to help position the label for more growth. The African continent is anticipated to be the next geographical repertoire to have a commanding presence on the global stage, similar to how Latin and K-pop have had an impact on the international marketplace in recent years.

Even if the investment comes from a strategic investor like UMG or HYBE — or results in another label or music company taking a stake in Mavin or even buying the African music company outright — the Mavin management team, led by legendary Nigerian music business executive Don Jazzy, is expected to remain in place and retain some form of control over its destiny.

Selena Gomez & Rema

Among strategic music industry suitors, sources say HYBE is in pole position with UMG in second place, even though some of Mavin’s bigger artists are distributed in the U.S. through various UMG entities. For instance, Rema’s big hit “Calm Down” — which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and remains in the top 10 on the chart after 56 weeks — was distributed by Virgin, one of UMG’s indie distribution arms; the subsequent remix version by Rema and Selena Gomez is licensed to Interscope; and sources say some other Mavin artist or artists might be going through Republic, as Mavin is listed under that label in Luminate.

Both Rema and Ayra Starr have racked up more than 1.5 billion global on-demand streams, according to Luminate, though Rema’s collaboration with Gomez on “Calm Down” is not counted under his artist page; that song has reached 9.07 billion global streams, with 164.5 million and 165.7 million in just the last two weeks, as of Sep. 28. Several other Rema collaborations are also listed elsewhere in Luminate, which means his overall share of streams is multiple times larger than what he is credited for solely under his own artist page in that system.


Moreover, both Rema’s and Starr’s emergence on the global stage is far bigger than their impact in the U.S. where Rema has 287 million streams and Starr has 203 million streams. Put another way, Rema’s collaboration with Gomez in the U.S., at 861.2 million streams, accounts for less than one tenth of the song’s total activity of over 9 billion streams.

In addition to hot artists like Rema and Starr, Mavin’s roster features more up-and-coming artists like Ladipoe, Crayon, Boy Spyce and Magixx, while its catalog includes music from Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal, Iyanya and Reekado Banks.

For a strategic suitor, the deal comes with other promising benefits besides landing a strong artist roster in a leading music company on the African continent. Winning the Mavin auction would catapult that bidder into a key player in the Nigerian Afrobeats scene — the umbrella genre that encompasses Afropop, Afro fusion, high life and others continues to explode around the globe. In the past several years, artists such as Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy have blossomed into global superstars, while the likes of Rema, Starr, Tems, Ckay, Asake and Fireboy DML have led a wave of young, emerging talent coming from the African continent. The movement has gained momentum to the point that the Recording Academy has introduced a new Grammy Awards category for best African music performance, which will be awarded for the first time at the forthcoming awards in February.

Beyond that, the buyer would also land the executive talent of Don Jazzy, born Michael Ajerehwho, who has already established Mavin as one of the leading record labels on the continent. Don Jazzy has become a leading figure in the development of the music business in Nigeria, having established Mo’ Hit Records alongside iconic recording artist D’Banj in 2004, before launching Mavin in 2012.

All companies mentioned in this story either declined to comment or didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

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