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Sony Music Hires Christel Kayibi as Director of Repertoire Strategy for Africa

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Sony Music has added Christel Kayibi to its Africa & Continental Europe team, which she will join as director of repertoire strategy, Africa. 

In her new London-based role, Kayibi will be one of the few executives to focus on both Anglophone and Francophone Africa, where she will develop Sony Music’s roster and network; identify catalog, label and other investment opportunities; and drive Sony Music’s entry into new markets across the continent. Kayibi will also work closely with the label’s regional and local Africa teams to assist with the signing of artists in partnership with Sony Music labels worldwide.

For her first project, Kayibi forged a partnership between Sony Music Africa and Afrochella’s parent company, Culture Management Group, along with the streaming service Audiomack, to give unsigned African talent an opportunity to compete for global distribution deals and record contracts through the Ghana-based music festival’s expanded “Rising Star Stage” competition. She will report directly to Daniel Lieberberg, president of Continental Europe & Africa, for Sony, in coordination with Sean Watson, managing director of Sony Music Africa.   

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Kayibi’s hiring reinforces Africa’s position as a hotbed for global talent that all three major labels want to develop. In September, Def Jam signed an exclusive worldwide joint venture with Native Records, a Nigeria- and U.K.-based label. In June, Universal Music Group also launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Africa, which includes over 15,000 music titles, with more than 50 label partners from 25 countries, and releases from more than 100 of Africa’s leading artists. In the last couple of years, Warner Music Group has partnered with Chocolate City, one of Nigeria’s leading independent labels that includes Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti‘s son Femi Kuti and “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)” hitmaker CKay on its roster, and appointed Temi Adeniji as managing director of Warner Music South Africa and senior vp strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa, a post — similar to Kayibi’s — that’s meant to enhance the company’s presence in the region. 

Before moving up at Sony Music, which she joined in 2019, Kayibi previously worked as the senior legal and business affairs manager and A&R at Columbia Records in the U.K., where she worked closely with finance, sales and marketing to ensure successful day-to-day operations of labels, including Columbia Records, 5K Records, Robots + Humans and Dream Life Records. 

Before joining Sony Music, Kayibi worked as a lawyer at Slaughter and May, White & Case and Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.  

In 2017, Kayibi became the global legal counsel for Nigerian artist and entrepreneur Mr. Eazi and worked with him on building up his label Banku Music — which expanded its roster beyond its founder with the addition of Nigerian singer Joeboy, Ghanaian singer J.Derobie and Ghanaian DJ/producer GuiltyBeatz –as well as his African talent incubator, emPawa Africa, which currently distributes audio and video content for 100 artists across the African continent. Earlier this year, Kayibi won the best lawyer award at the 2022 Young Music Boss Awards in London, which recognizes the achievements of rising music executives under the age of 35. 

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