LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--gamma., the artist-first multimedia platform providing creative and business services across all artistic and commercial formats, today announced it is expanding operations into the important emerging markets of Africa and the Middle East. Leading the effort is music industry veteran Sipho Dlamini, who has joined the company as President, Africa & Middle East and international supermodel and U.N. Commonwealth Ambassador Naomi Campbell, in an expansion of her role as a key advisor to gamma., is named Special Advisor, Africa & Middle East. The Africa operation will be based in Lagos, Nigeria and in the Middle East from Dubai, UAE.
Africa and the Middle East is a culturally rich source of music and artistic talent. As digital formats continue to flatten the global market for entertainment and culture, bringing emerging markets into the global grid to better connect artists with fans is one of gamma.’s founding tenets.
“Africa and the Middle East are vital to gamma.’s long-term vision and success. These regions have historically been under appreciated wellsprings of rich musical talent spanning multiple genres, cultures, and styles just waiting to be introduced to the rest of the world,” said gamma. Co-founder & CEO Larry Jackson. “gamma. is an unconventional company and we pride ourselves in taking an unconventional approach to unlocking value for all artists, worldwide.”
To that end, gamma. has welcomed cultural icon Naomi Campbell as Special Advisor to create the pathways needed to make immediate headway across the continent. Campbell is the founder of the nonprofit organization Fashion For Relief, which helps develop alternative industries such as fashion, tech, business, entertainment, and arts in emerging markets from Africa to India to the Middle East. She also launched The Emerge Initiative, supporting artists across Africa and the Diaspora with a platform of support via mentoring and training opportunities, as well as different creative industries and educational institutes.
“Naomi sits at the distinct intersection of fashion, philanthropy, music and more,” said Jackson. “Her existing relationships with world leaders coupled with her intimate knowledge of entertainment’s cultural and economic impact is a win-win opportunity for both gamma. and the region at large.”
“Elevating the cultural and artistic richness of artists in Africa and the Middle East has been a passion of mine over my entire career,” said Campbell. “gamma. is a special company with a unique mission that I’m proud to support and help advance throughout the region."
gamma.’s African operations will be led by Sipho Dlamini as President of Africa & the Middle East. As one of the founding fathers of Africa’s modern music industry, Dlamini brings more than 24 years of experience pioneering the music business across the continent, and evangelizing its artists and music worldwide.
He most recently held the position of CEO of Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, after four years as Managing Director. Dlamini previously played a pivotal role in the stabilization and growth of the largest and most profitable royalty collection society in Africa — Southern African Music Rights Organization (SAMRO) — first as General Manager and eventually taking the reins as CEO.
Before joining SAMRO, Dlamini was Vice President of Operations at CSM Entertainment in Dubai and had oversight of the largest concerts and music festivals in the region at the time. From Kanye West to John Mayor, Akon to Robert Plant, Iron Maiden, Incubus, Lemmy (Motorhead) to Fat Joe, Ziggy Marley, 50 Cent & G Unit, CSM was one of the leading event promotion & production companies in the Middle East.
“I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have leading our artist empowerment effort in Africa and the Middle East than Sipho,” said Jackson. “He is the No. 1 market leader in the No. 1 rising market in the world. His proven track record blending street-level connection to culture with board-level business savvy is exactly what both gamma. and the region at large needs to realize our full potential.”
“gamma. is precisely the right vision at the right time for Africa and the Middle East. It’s important to understand and differentiate between the many markets that make up this region, which Larry and the team at gamma. understand intimately,” said Dlamini. “I’ve dedicated my life to making talent more available and accessible in all formats, from TV to live events, to digital platforms. Working with gamma. to blend these formats into a true artist-first experience is a dream opportunity that I’m looking forward to making a reality.”
gamma. is uniquely positioned to make an immediate impact in Africa and the Middle East. Its digital distribution arm Vydia established a foothold on the continent in 2017, which has since become the second-largest region in total consumption behind the U.S. The company also has established key partnerships with such local record labels as emPawa Africa, Mavin Records, DC Talents, and others.
“It has been exciting to see influential leaders and high-growth labels in Africa, such as Mr. Eazi’s emPawa Africa and Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records, expand their business opportunities independently with the right capital investments and infrastructure support provided by Vydia,” says Label and Artist Relations Manager, June Saba. “African tastemakers are acquiring more influence worldwide while maintaining the authenticity of the culture and that feel-good energy afro-beat embodies.”
“Sipho has always been a great asset and supporter of our independent operations providing insight on navigating the maze that is taking African Music to the world, I am most excited as I think that in this role he can bring all the experience and I trust that he will have the necessary freedom to make those non-conventional but much needed deals to bring value not just to Vydia but all the independent artists and labels he will work with,” comments emPawa’s Mr. Eazi.
As gamma.’s regional debut, the company exclusively distributed and marketed last Friday’s launch of Rema’s ‘Rave & Roses (Ultra)’ album within African territories which includes the hit track "Calm Down" which currently has achieved over 5B streams globally.
According to the latest IFPI Global Music Report, the Middle East and Africa combined for a year-over-year increase in recorded music revenue of 23.8%, as well as the highest share of streaming than any region in the world, at 95.5% of revenues. On its own, Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing music market in the world, with a 34.7% year-over-year increase, driven largely by a 31.4% increase in recorded music revenues in South Africa.
Taken together, the African and Middle East regions are poised to make a significant mark in creation, distribution, and consumption of music in the decade ahead.
gamma., founded by CEO Larry Jackson and President Ike Youssef, is a modern media and technology enterprise created to revolutionize the way artists create, distribute, and monetize their content and brand. Announced gamma. repertoire includes a long-term agreement with entertainment icon Snoop Dogg for exclusive rights to market and distribute the iconic Death Row Records catalog including new music from Snoop Dogg and multi-platinum Grammy Award winning superstar Usher partnered with gamma. for the release of his latest hit Glu. Digital distributor Vydia, is a wholly-owned division of gamma.
The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in New York, London, Miami, Nashville, Lagos and Dubai.