×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Akon, Motown Veteran Kedar Massenburg Launch Akonik Label Group

The company is looking to Latin countries, the Caribbean and Afrobeat hubs to sign and develop new talent.

Artist and songwriter Akon (pictured at left) and Motown Records veteran Kedar Massenburg have teamed up to launch Akonik Label Group (ALG). Distributed worldwide by BMG, the company is embracing a regional A&R model as a new approach to what’s traditionally been thought of as world music. ALG is looking to Latin countries, the Caribbean and the ever-popular Afrobeat hubs to sign and develop new talent under four banners: Akonda, Ke Lo Ke, Jamakon and Akonik, the latter of which will focus on American and European acts.

The multi-national multi-cultural labels will have offices in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Akon is best known as a collaborator credited on hits by Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Dr. Dre, Daddy Yankee, Lil’ Wayne and many more. He was also an early advocate of Lady GaGa, signing the budding singer to his now dormant imprint as part of a joint venture with Universal Music Group.

Said the American-born Senegalese Akon in announcing ALG: “I have collaborated and worked with artists of all genres from pop, afrobeat, electronica and hip-hop, so I know firsthand that great music is universally recognized no matter where it originates. Regional music styles are blending and easily accessible via streaming — music fans already appreciate beats from all over the world.”

Massenburg made his name in the music business for his part in the Neo-Soul movement, including the discovery and development of Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and India.Arie, each of whom went on to success in the 1990s and beyond. “The digital landscape makes it possible to identify and promote talent from all over the world,” said Massenburg, who met Akon when he was president of Motown. “Akon and I reunited to sign the best of the best in each territory, and we intend to be pioneers in building a platform that will introduce artists from all over — Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, and India — to a global audience.”

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Hailee SteinfeldTribeca TV Festival 2019 Presents

    Hailee Steinfeld Announces New Single Tied to Apple TV Plus' 'Dickinson'

    Actress, singer and producer Hailee Steinfeld is set to release a new single entitled “Afterlife” on Sept. 19, a track she created for her upcoming Apple TV Plus series,”Dickinson.” “This is a song I’m incredibly proud of, and I feel like after embodying this character, I have a more fearless approach to my writing,” Steinfeld [...]

  • Deadmau5 Captivates Opening Night Crowd by

    Concert Review: Deadmau5 Captivates Opening Night Crowd by Going Cube-ist

    “I’m not gonna lie: first shows [of a tour] usually suck,” deadpanned electronic music producer Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5, Thursday night, closing out the first night of his two-night stand in Dallas, the kickoff city of his North American “CubeV3” tour. “But this one actually was great.” The sold-out crowd at South Side Ballroom roared back [...]

  • John Mayer performs at Madison Square

    Concert Review: John Mayer Is a Wonderland at First of Two-Night Stand at the Forum

    “You’re allowed to ironically celebrate your past,” John Mayer told a sold-out crowd of nearly 18,000 on Friday night at the iconic Inglewood, Calif. venue The Forum. He was introducing what is arguably his breakout hit, the college dorm hookup anthem “Your Body is a Wonderland,” but the declaration could easily have applied to the [...]

  • Concert Review: Brian Wilson, Zombies Grandly

    Concert Review: Brian Wilson and Zombies Revive the Grand Chamber Pop of 1968 at Greek

    Even “teenage symphonies to God” reach their dotage. But if they’re lucky, or spectacularly good, they may join the company of less youthfully inclined symphonies and join some kind of canon that’ll outlive their creators. Fortunately, the Beach Boys’ peak late ’60s work and “Odessey and Oracle” have not outlived Brian Wilson and the Zombies, [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Albert Cheng, Alexandra Billings,

    'Transparent' Team Reflects on Series Finale Without Jeffrey Tambor

    Friday night’s premiere of the series finale of “Transparent” at L.A. Live’s Regal theater felt like a family reunion for the Pfefferman clan. Matriarch Judith Light embraced each one of her TV children (Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) and guest stars from previous seasons (Cherry Jones, Melora Hardin, Bradley Whitford) who also turned [...]

  • Liam Gallagher: As It Was

    Film Review: 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was'

    Liam Gallagher is nearly as fascinating a rock ‘n’ roll figure as he thinks he is … which is saying a lot. After the breakup of Oasis, one of the most self-avowedly arrogant stars in pop culture found himself severely humbled, fighting to become relevant again without the help of Noel, his ex-bandmate and, for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content