Music is a melodious sound that often entertains and helps in calming the mood of an individual. Over the years, music has undergone a lot of face-lift all over the world. #Top Record Labels in Nigeria
In the past, musicians in Nigeria especially were seen as hopeless individuals who had no plans for the future.
Today, with the vast improvements and money which has been pumped into the music industry, musicians are now the talk of the town and their songs now play continually on radio and TV.
As the money and fame accrued to the music industry continued to burgeon, it became normalcy for record labels to spring up here and there, to help musicians achieve their dreams, by sponsoring their music careers and promoting their music.
We take a look at some record labels who have grown to become the movers and shakers of the music industry, due to their massive productivity.
Below are some of the top record labels in Nigeria, do well to check them out.
1. Chocolate City
Choc Boys Nation aka Chocolate City was formed in 2005 by Audu maikori, Paul Okeugo, and Yahaya Maikori.
Chocolate City metamorphosed from a night club to a promotions company and then finally to a record label. Chocolate city has since blossomed like a flower and has become a leading record label in the country.
Superstar artists such as Ice Prince, Femi Kuti, Caise, Nosa, Pryse, Jesse Jags and Victoria Kimani are currently signed to the recording label. It is interesting to also say that the record label had also had the likes of Asa ad Djinee under contract in times past.
Seven years ago (in 2012), the well-known Nigerian rapper M.I became the President of the board and popular business man, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, the Chairman.
2. Kennis Music
Kennis Music is the record label which absolutely redefined the idea behind running a record label in Nigeria.
They achieved this with they way they managed their first set of artists which included the likes of Tu Face Idibia, Sound Sultan, Tony Tetuila and Eedris Abdulkareem.
Kennis Music was founded in 1998 by the duo of Kenny Ogungbe and Dayo “D1” Adeneye. Artists signed to the record label presently includes, Kenny Saint Brown, Essence, Jaywon, Capital F.E.M.I, Joe El to mention but a few.
3. Capital Hill Records
This record label is the record label owned by the boss himself, Ill Bliss in partnership with A-list music video director Clarence Peters.
Some of the artists signed under Capital Hill records include: Da Suspect, Chidinma, Fefe, Mz Kiss Ayoola and Ill Bliss himself. Chidinma recently left the record label due to disagreement in revenue sharing.
4. Five Star Music
Five Star Music is owned by Nigerian billionaire, Emeka Okonkwo , popularly known as E-money. He is the younger brother of Kinsley Okonkwo (K-Cee).
Five Star Music has risen to become one of the top record labels in Nigeria due to the success which have been garnered by its top artist KCee -the Limpopo crooner.
Other artists signed to Five star music includes Harrysong and Skiibii. Harrysong left the label because of a feud between him the management of the team. Five Star Music recently signed Xbusta, who is doing amazingly well in the music industry.
5. Empire Mates Entertainment (EME)
This record labels was formed by Pop singer Bankole Wellington AKA Banky W. As we all know, EME was the record label which discovered and nutured Wizkid into his Star-boy status as well as Skales.
Artists signed to EME includes Shaydee, Niyola, Cobhams, DJ Xclusive and numerous others. DJ Xclusive is the official DJ for the record label.
6. StarBoy Records
This is a record label made popular by the Star boy himself Wizkid! Wizkid left EME in 2014 to form his own record label and named his new brainchild ‘Star-boy record’.
Wizkid’s record label is not doing badly and there is scarcely any upcoming artiste that wouldn’t want to be signed with StarBoy Music.
Producer Maleek Berry and Legendury Beats, as well as musician LAX, are signed to StarBoy music. Wizkid released his second album titled “Ayo” via this record. By 2016, Eazi and Ghanian acts Efya and R2Bees are also contracted to Star Boy Records.
7. Northside Inc.
Who doesn’t know this record label? Well, if you do not, it is the record label that manages the duo of Peter and Paul Okoye -The singing twins who have got millions of fans across Nigeria and the world.
Despite the recent problem between the Okoye brothers, Northside music is still waxing strong. Singer Cynthia Morgan is currently signed to Northside Inc.
8. YBNL record
Popular Nigerian musician, Olamide Badoo Sneh founded the Yahoo Boy No Laptop (YBNL) Nation in 2012. The ‘Lagos Boys’ crooner burst into the limelight in 2011 with his hit single ‘Eni Duro’.
Olamide later formed the YBNL record label which has been a successful venture since then. Young John and Pheelz are currently the producers at YBNL.
Olamide himself, DJ Enimoney, Xino, Chiko Ekun, Temmie Ovwasa and Davolee are the artist currently signed to this label. Initially, the label had popular artist such as Adekunle Gold and Lil Kish signed up, but both have left the label after expiration of their contract.
9. HKN GANG
Omo Baba Olowó controls this record label. For those who do not know who Omo Baba Olowó is, he is none other than the David Adeleke aka Davido. The ‘Gobe’ crooner formed the HKN record label alongside his cousin B-Red.
Ever since then, the record label has been doing well. Davido’s cousin Shina Rambo is also signed under the label as well as trending artiste Mayourkun. Dremo, Danagog and Deekay are also part of the label group.
Recently, Davido founded a new record label, DMW (David Music Worldwide). It is home to Davido, Dremo, Yonda, Peruzzi, E-Cool, Mayorkun and most recently Saucekid.
10. SUPREME MAVIN DYNASTY (SMD)
We all know who Don Baba J aka Don Jazzy is. He amongst a few of his friends, D’Banj inclusive formed Mo’Hits record but they later disagreed and disbanded the record after nearly a decade together.
Don Jazzy them formed Supreme Mavin Dynasty in 2012 with a few artists from Mo’Hits who were still loyal to him.
On May 1 2014, Mavin released Dorobucci was an instant hit. , SMD has grown to become one of the leading record labels in the country.
Top recording artists such as Tiwa Savage- the first lady of Mavin, Iyaanya, D’ Prince, Dr Sid, D’Prince, Di’ja, Reekado Banks, Jonny Drille, Poe, DNA Twins and Korede Bello.
11. Made Men Music Group:
Founded in 2010 by the famous show promoter Ubi Franklin, the Made Men Music Group is one of the biggest and baddest labels in Nigeria. Want to know Ubi Franklin? His full name is Ubi Ekapong Ofem.
He started off by working as an assistant to Julius Agwu and also worked with AY Makum and others before becoming a show promoter. Before made Men Music Group sprang up, Ubi was the manager of Iyanya. Iyanya later became the first recording artist at Made Men Music Group in 2010.
Four years later (2014) Tekno, Emma Nyra and Selebobo are all part of the label. Then in 2016, the label released a compilation album, “the Evolution”, produced by Selebobo, Teckno and DJ Coublon.
Ubi Franklin won the City People Music Awards for the Best Music manager of the year that same year.
12. G-Worldwide Entertainment:
Established in the year 2007 by Emperor Geezy (Festus Ehimare), the label started off with musical acts promoting in 2011 and is now one of the top labels in the country.
Kiss Daniel became their first performing artist under contract in 2013. By 2015, Sugarboy (the Reggae and RnB sensational) was also signed under contract.
The label does Afrobeats, RnB, Reggae and soul music.
13. LoveWorld Records
This record label that has the vision of sourcing and promoting gospel artistes in Nigeria, was established in 2009 by the great and famous Man of God, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, President of the Christ Embassy Church.
Most of the best gospel music artistes in this country are under this record; Sinach, Frank Edwards, Joe praise, Ada Ehi, Eben, Buchi, Jahdiel, Chris Shalom, to mention but a few. Loveworld records is headed by Ehi Moses who has about 20 years experience in the music industry.
16. Kaycee Records:
Kaycee Records was launched as a record label in 2010, however, Kaycee Records have been promoting Nigerian acts in the United Kingdom since the year 1995 when and where it was founded by Kennedy Kesidi Richard and Kingsley chibuzor Aguoru.
It launched off with the likes of Uche Barry Nwobi (Swith Barry), Ikechukwu Iroegbu (Snappy), Meldaline Maureen Uzoigwe (Mel-Dee), Chike Ken Nwoke (Seaflo) and the group Southend. Currently, they have Safin de Coque (the son of the legendary musician, Oliver de Coque), Mr Bistop (a former member of bracket) under contract.
17. ALAPOMEJI ANCESTRAL RECORDS
Another top record in Nigeria is Alapomeji Ancestral Records founded by Abolore Akande popularly called 9ice in the year 2008.
Top artistes such as Seriki, Kayefi and Wise were members of the Alapomeji records before it was rebranded to Alapomeji Ancestral Records.
18. KALAKUTA REPUBLIC
Kalakuta Republic was founded by the legendary musician Fela Kuti in Mushin Lagos. It also operated as a free health clinic.
The Republic was burnt down in 1977 by soldiers because of Fela’s new release at the time titled ‘Zombie’. The song referred to soldiers as ‘zombie’ and referenced corruption and intimidation of communities as the hallmark of the Nigerian military.
19. EDGE RECORDS
Ibrahim Okulaja and Jahbless founded Edge Records in 2005. Thereafter 9ice was signed as the first artiste for the label. His first release was the album titled “Certificate” which was an instant hit. currently, artiste such as Reminisce, Ola Dips and Sojay are signed to this label.
20. SOUL MUZIK
Soul music was founded as an entertainment company in Nigeria in the year 2008 by award-winning music artiste Dare Art Alade (Darey). Derey, Zaina Agoro and mo Eazy are currently contracted under this label. The single titled ‘Special fever’ by Darey is the latest release by Soul Muzik.
How do I get signed by Record Labels in Nigeria?
Here is how artists can get signed by record labels in Nigeria:
- Create your own unique musical style
- Make incredible music
- Ensure you learn the business of record label deals
- Create a consistent brand
- Have an active social media presence
- Build a loyal following or fanbase
- Make connections with labels
Let’s explore these steps in details:
Create your own unique musical style
The Nigeria music scene is saturated with wannabes and copy cats. Everyone sounds like the other musicians. Record labels in Nigeria are searching for original and distinctive sounds. It might be quite difficult to create a distinctive sound or style but it is key to relevance and longevity in the industry.
Make incredible music
Concentrate on crafting incredible songs that fans and record labels will adore and like. Make sure your song has enough reply value. Ensure you pay particular attention to songwriting and production when releasing songs.
Record labels in Nigeria are hunting for musicians who will not only storm the music industry and earn them money but create classics that will resonate with fans for decades to come.
Ensure you learn the business of record label deals
A good understanding of the Nigerian music industry and the business of record label deals will help you know what it takes to get signed and how to avoid getting fleeced or cheated by labels when the time comes.
Create a consistent brand
Branding is very important for every music artist. You have to effectively manage your brand on every social media channel. Your brand must be recognisable and easily identifiable.
Have an active social media presence
Many artists have found fame via social media presence. This means record labels in Nigeria are consistently on the look for talented artists on social media to sign. So, as an artist, you have to take social media very seriously. Be active and engage your fans on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Strategize and create a marketing plan to expand your reach on the internet.
Build a loyal following or fanbase
Your fanbase is one of the keys to succeeding in the music industry. You need to build a loyal fan base that will draw the attention of labels. If fans want to hear more of your music, then labels will be convinced to signing a deal with you. The key to building a devoted fanbase is by crafting quality music and social media engagement.
Although many people have argued that record labels are milking artists dry, one truth that cannot be hidden is the exposure, finance and promotion that these record labels give to their artists.
The fact is – Record labels in the music industry are here to stay.