Rising to prominence in the Nigerian Music industry is extremely difficult due to the financial requirement, competition, and high expectations from music fans and even after gaining the spotlight, remaining relevant in the industry is another major problem due to the stiff competition in the industry. One of the institutions that have made it easier for artists to survive in this highly competitive industry is the record labels as they allow the artist(s) to focus only on making quality songs and playing shows while the label provides the necessary financial resources to keep the artists and their craft pushing, help in promoting the artists, and making sure that only the finest of their songs get to leave the studio.
Top 10 Biggest Record Labels In Nigeria 2021
Record labels in Nigeria can be accredited for the current success of the Nigerian music industry as some of the labels had to go into the streets in search of talents and gave an opportunity to some of the big music acts that we know today. They went on to invests in these singers even when there was no guarantee of the labels recovering their capital or even making a profit.
Today, due to indiscipline, greed, and a failed Judiciary system in Nigeria, the record label business is slowly becoming a failed business in Nigeria as singers don’t honor contracts and don’t hesitate in fleeing their record label as soon as they are successful, also a very few cases of renewal of contracts at the end of contract expiration and due to these reasons, some of the labels that use to be the powerhouse of music in Nigeria are no more in existence or are nothing to write home about currently. But despite all the challenges in the music business, some record labels have stood out and have continued to churn out talented singers to the entertainment and maintain a working business model, and signing with these labels is almost a surety for success.
So Rosbena shortlists the top Ten best and successful record labels in Nigeria. Enjoy!
Top Ten Nigerian Record Label
Mavin Records (also known as the Supreme Mavin Dynasty) is unarguably the biggest record label in Nigeria and is also one of Africa’s leading record labels. Mavin Records was founded on the 8th of May, 2012 by legendary Nigerian singer, songwriter, music producer, music executive, and entrepreneur, Don Jazzy.
The label is considered ‘The biggest record label in Nigeria‘ not just because of its age, but the music icons that were established by the label and the number of young acts that the label has driven to success. After D’banj’s exit from Mo’Hits record, the label was rebranded and named Mavin Records by Don Jazzy and he brought on his artists, Wande Coal (who exited a year later), Dr Sid, and D’prince to the new label. In that same year, Don Jazzy signed Tiwa Savage, who went on to become Nigerian biggest female artist under the umbrella of Mavin Records before exiting the label and signing with Universal Music at the end of her contract. In February 2014, Don Jazzy welcomed Reekado Banks, Korede Bello, and Di’ja to the label and the positive impact of the label in their careers is eminent to this day. On February 28, 2017, Don Jazzy signed Johnny Drille, Ladipoe, and DNA to the label. Fast-forward to 2019 and the label continues to add more artists and strengthening her team. Blowtime Entertainment & Mavin Records signed Crayon to the label on the 31st of May 2019. Mavin Record also partnered with Jonzing World in signing one of Africa’s most promising acts, Rema, who went on to become one of the hottest Nigerian artists in 2019 after bagging a record deal with Mavins in just a year.
Apart from their league of gifted singers, Mavin Record also boasts of skilled producers on their team as the label is home to Baby Fresh, Altims, Ozedikus, and Don Jazzy who is one of the finest producers in Nigeria.
(2) Davido Music Worldwide
The label, Davido Music Worldwide (Well Known as DMW) was founded in 2016 by award-winning Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer, Davido.
In January 2016, Davido signed a recording deal with Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and the singer deemed it fit to separate business from family, hence he exited his family-owned record label, HKN Music and launched the label ‘Davido Music Worldwide’. He kickstarted the label by signing one of Nigeria’s current hottest singers, Mayorkun (who he discovered on Twitter) alongside the rapper, Dremo.
Davido, the record label’s boss is well known by his watchword ‘We Rise By Lifting Others’ and that same slogan describes the operation of the label as the members of the label always look out for each other ensuring that they all progress together as a family. The record label is home to Davido, Mayorkun, Dremo, Peruzzi, Ichaba, B-Red, DJ ECool, Lil Frosh, Idowest, Deekay, Yonda, Ayanfe, and Sinzu and it is currently the second-biggest record label in Nigeria.
(3) Chocolate City
Chocolate City isn’t just the third biggest record label in Nigeria but it is the oldest record label on the list. The label which started out as a promotion outfit in the Northern part of Nigeria was founded in 2005 by lawyer Audu Maikori along with Paul Okeugo.
In 2007, Chocolate City became the first Nigerian music company to be recognized and given an accolade by the British Council at the International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (2007). At the City People Entertainment Awards, Chocolate City won the award for Best Record Label of the Year in 2011 and as well as in 2013. On 8 December 2011, parent company Chocolate City Group won the African Awards for Entrepreneurship, beating over 3,300 applicants from 48 countries in Africa to clinch the runner-up prize, thereby making history as the first entertainment company to win the prize since 2007. Chocolate City also partnered with Warner Music Group on the 28th of March 2019, a deal that will enable Chocolate City artists to receive the support of the company’s distribution and artist services via its independent label services division ADA and also include them in WMG’s repertoire.
Chocolate City was home to big Nigerian artists like M.I Abaga, Ice Prince Zamani, Brymo, Jesse Jagz, Koker, DJ Lambo, Victoria Kimani, DJ Caise, Jeremiah Gyang, Pryse, VHS Safari, and Kahli Abdu. Currently, Chocolate City has these artists under her roster, Blaqbonez, Femi Kuti, Dice Ailes, Nosa, CKay, Candy Bleakz, Ruby Gyang, ClassiQ, Mr Gbafun, Lemon Adisa, and Ijay.
(4) YBNL Nation
Yahoo Boy No Laptop Nation styled as YBNL Nation is the fourth biggest record label in Nigeria. The record label was founded in 2012 by Nigerian singer, songwriter, and rapper, Olamide after his exit from ID Cabasa’s record label, Coded Tunes. The record label was named after Olamide’s sophomore album ‘YBNL’ which was released in 2012.
Under the umbrella of YBNL Nation, Olamide has nurtured and monetized the talent of young talented Nigerian artists who initially had no opportunity to showcase their craft. The label mostly offers a two-year deal to its artist. YBNL Nation was home to Adekunle Gold (who designed the record label’s logo), Lil Kesh, Chinko Ekun, Davolee, Lyta, Limerick, Picazo Rhap, Viktoh, Xino, and Pelepele. Olamide, Fireboy DML, and DJ Enimoney are the current acts of YBNL Nation.
On the 18th of February, 2020, YBNL Nation signed a joint venture deal with Empire, an international distribution company, which will oversee the global distribution of YBNL Nation artists contents and help in reaching a wider audience.
(5) Starboy Entertainment
Starboy Entertainment owns the fifth position on the list of biggest record labels in Nigeria. The record label was founded in March 2013 by one of Africa’s biggest and most talented singers, Wizkid.
Wizkid who was still signed to E.M.E (Empire Mate Entertainment) in 2013 starting floating his own label, Starboy Entertainment in March 2013, when his relationship with E.M.E and the record label boss, Banky W went sour due to monetary issues. Wizkid returned back to E.M.E that same year after resolving his issue with the label and he released his sophomore studio album ‘Ayo’ under E.M.E and Starboy Entertainment. At the end of his 5-year contract, he exited E.M.E and moved in full time to his own record label Starboy Entertainment. Single-handedly, Wizkid has grown Starboy Entertainment to becoming one of Nigeria’s biggest record labels. Starboy Entertainment was home to Nigerian singer, L.A.X, who rose to prominence under the label. Maleek Berry, Legendury Beatz, Mr Eazi, were once affiliates of Starboy Entertainment, even tho they never had an official deal with the label. Starboy Entertainment is home to fast-rising Nigerian singer, Terri. Starboy Entertainment is currently the 5th biggest record label in Nigeria.
(6) Universal Music Group Nigeria
Universal Music Group Nigeria, the West African division of global record label Universal Music Group, was established in 2017. With enough capital, the right strategy, and the superb brand of her parent company (UMG), in just a two-year period, Universal Music Group has grown to become one of Nigeria’s biggest record labels.
Universal Music Group Nigeria is home to Idahams, Larry Gaaga, Nonso Bassey, Tomi Owó, Tekno (co-sign [Distribution deal]), WurlD, Cina Soul (Ghanaian), Irene Ntale (Ugandan), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania).
Universal Music Group is currently the 6th biggest record label in Nigeria and has its corporate headquarters located in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Top 10 Record Labels In Nigeria 2021
(7) Spaceship Entertainment
Spaceship Entertainment is currently the 7th biggest record label in Nigeria. The label was founded in January 2015 by Grammy-nominated Nigerian singer and songwriter, Burna Boy, after unceremoniously exiting his previous record label, Aristokrat Records, at the end of his contract.
Singlehandedly, Burna Boy has made Spaceship Entertainment one of Nigeria’s biggest record labels. Spaceship Entertainment is home to Burna Boy’s sister, Nissi Ogulu. Recently, Spaceship Entertainment signed Leriq, Burna Boy’s long-time music producer, and also signed the fast-rising and promising Nigerian singer, Buju to the label.
(8) Effyzzie Music Group
Effyzzie Music Group, home to one of the biggest African female singer, Yemi Alade, is the 8th biggest record label in Nigeria.
The record label was founded by Nigerian entrepreneur, Taiye Aliyu, who doubles in as Yemi Alade’s manager. After welcoming Yemi Alade to his record label, Taiye went all-in on Yemi Alade’s career and even had to drop some of the label’s artists in order to focus on Yemi. Under the Umbrella of Effyzzie Music Group, Yemi Alade has grown to not just becoming one of Nigeria’s biggest female singers but also one of Africa’s biggest female singers. Effyzzie Music Group is home to Soti, Geniuzz, Brainee, and Yemi Alade.
In September 2019, Universal Music Group signed a licensing deal with Effyzzie Music Group for Yemi Alade, and under the multi-year agreement, Universal Music Africa will serve as the exclusive worldwide recorded music partner for Yemi Alade and Effyzzie Music Group alongside Universal Music France will serve as the international roll-out partner for the project. Effyzzie Music Group is currently the 8th biggest record label in Nigeria.
Top 10 Record Labels In Nigeria 2021
(9) Dr. Dolor Entertainment
After getting to know what upcoming artists in Nigeria have to go through in order to be successful and the huge number of talented acts in Nigeria, coupled with his love for music, Nigerian entrepreneur Dr Dolor decided to establish a record label in order to give these young talented lads the opportunity to showcase their talent to the world.
He started Dr Dolor Entertainment in December 2016 and officially unveiled and launched the label on the 16th of December, 2016 in Lekki Phase 1. Dr Dolor Entertainment debuted with Ryan Omo as his first artist under the label’s imprint. On the 4th of October, 2017, Dr Dolor Entertainment welcomed Teni to the label and few years under the umbrella of Dr Dolor Entertainment, Teni has grown to become one of Nigeria’s best female singers. Currently, Dr Dolor Entertainment is home to Teni, Ryan Omo, Hotkid, Nikita, Dr Dolor, and Afin Osha.
Dr Dolor Entertainment is currently the 9th biggest record label in Nigeria.
(10) DM (Dem Mama Record)
Dem Mama Records, popularly known as DM Records was founded by one of Nigeria’s finest dancehall singer, Timaya. The record label was named after his first major hit song, Dem Mama, a song which was an account of the 1999 destruction of Odi, a river-side community in Niger Delta.
Without an official deal, the label groomed and nurtured Patoranking during the early phase of his career before he later departed in 2014 to sign with Foston Musik. Runtown was also an affiliate of the label during the early phase of his career before he went on Eric Many Entertainment. DM Records is currently the 10th biggest record label in Nigeria and it is home to Timaya alongside the talented Nigerian singer, King Perryy.
As many Nigerian artists continue to defect from the label they are signed to and launching their own record label, hence weakening the authority of the previous label they were signed to, the number of record labels in Nigeria continues to be on the rise and the record label business in Nigeria keeps getting tougher by the day but regardless, these labels listed above continue to thrive in this tough niche.
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