Mavin-UMG pact will boost intellectual property protection, say experts

By Abimbola Mohammed

Intellectual property experts and music enthusiasts have hailed Universal Music Group’s take over of Mavin Records owned by popular Don Jazzy.
The experts disclosed that the acquisition was a right decision that will not only reposition Nigeria’s music industry, but pilot it in the right direction.

They further stressed that the UMG is a record label which seeks for talented artists and songwriters.

In a LinkedIn post by a commercial and intellectual property lawyer and litigation expert who craved anonymity, she noted that the partnership between the two record companies represents a watershed moment for intellectual property in Nigeria.

Her post read: “For one, UMG’s track record of protecting and championing the rights of its artists serves as a beacon of hope for Nigerian creatives, who have long sought greater safeguards for their invaluable contributions. Nigerian artists and indeed the consumers can expect enhanced protection and increased infringement cases for intellectual property rights.

“On the other hand, this partnership sends a clear message to potential investors that Nigeria is open for business, and its entertainment industry is ripe with untapped potential. Indeed, intellectual property is poised to become the next “crude oil” for Nigeria, fueling not just economic prosperity but sharing our rich culture in the process.”

The lawyer added that with the recent enactment of the new Copyright Act, the timing couldn’t have been more auspicious than now. This legislation has provided a framework for safeguarding the rights of creatives and a vibrant entertainment industry.

“As we look ahead, I personally anticipate a wave of transformative change in Nigeria’s entertainment landscape. From heightened visibility on the global stage to greater economic empowerment! The possibilities are indeed endless,” she added.

On his part, Quami Okonny, Editor/Publisher, The Wuye Gazette, noted that the deal could be key to various benefits like financial resources and infrastructure, increased production value, marketing budgets, opportunities for other artists and labels.

“The deal could unlock various benefits for Mavin artists. UMG’s vast resources and international expertise could help them reach wider audiences, secure lucrative collaborations, and navigate the complexities of the global music market. However, the deal also raises concerns. Some fear that UMG’s influence might homogenize the unique soundscapes of Nigerian music, replacing them with more commercially-driven formulas. Others worry about potential job losses within Mavin and the erosion of the label’s creative autonomy, which has been crucial to its success.”

It could be recalled that in 2022, Africa experienced the highest growth rate in recorded music consumption, with Sub-Saharan Africa leading at an impressive 34.7% year-over-year growth, surpassing any other region globally.

The strategic partner will also further position the Nigerian music industry at the global stage, showcase talent as well as send clear media to potential investors that Nigeria is open for business, and its entertainment industry is ripe with untapped potential.

The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the third quarter of 2024, as UMG reiterated that Mavin will retain autonomy in steering its strategic vision and talent development.

Don Jazzy, along with COO Tega Oghenejobo, will continue to head the company under the terms of the agreement label, but there is beacon of hope that artists will get the appropriate compensation, royalties and safety from video apps like TikTok.

This is because UMG is strong on securing appropriate compensation for performers and songwriters; protections against AI-generated music flooding the platform; and bolstering online safety.

In an earlier statement in January, UMG accused TikTok, which reportedly made about $20 billion in ad revenue last year of trying to build a “music-based business without paying fair value for (artists’) music.”

UMG has said it won’t seek to renew its initial arrangement with TikTok which expired on January 31, and plans to cease licensing content to both TikTok and its music-focused service, TikTok Music.

In a letter by UMG to TikTok, UMG said that TikTok was trying to build a music-based business “without paying fair value for the music” and accused the company of selectively removing developing artists’ music from the service while continuing to promote UMG’s more famous performers.
This has led to TikTok removing more music from its platform as part of a continuing row over royalties with UMG.

Intellectual property (IP) theft has been one of the major concerns in the creative industry lately, where experts strongly advised creatives to protect their works and is IP as a way towards expanding upon their business frontiers.

Although the strategic partnership will further position the Nigeria music industry at the global stage, showcase talent as well as send clear media to potential investors that Nigeria is open for business, and its entertainment industry is ripe with untapped potential but it raises concerns.


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