We are still in the middle of a music industry boom unmatched with any other and it arrives under the supervision of its own pioneers. These pioneers come in the form of record label executives who have dedicated their mental and physical resources into the shaping of an industry that fits into their vision for a better structured industry. They are the makers of the new legends, hence the celebration of their leadership prowess is just as valid as celebrating the artistes who were trusted enough to convert their investment into career gold. In some measure, these guys are legends themselves.
At the moment, there exists a variant of labels in Nigeria with a multiplex of signed talents, but only a few of them stand out.
Mavin records currently floats under the watch of Don Jazzy who re-branded his defunct Mo Hits label without partner in crime D’banj nor uber talented singer Wande Coal. The new label manages the careers of Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, and D’ija, three of Nigeria’s new school artistes, as well as power house diva Tiwa Savage, who allegedly just signed a collaborative deal with JayZ’s Roc Nation.
If not for anything, but for the events that opened the year in music at the Headies, YBNL’s Olamide comes up next on the list of successful record label managers. His success with uncovering Lil Kesh was so well done that Olamide didn’t attempt to retain him at the label after the former signee acquired a cult following big enough to demonize the Headies for not handing him the Next Rated Award. Lil Kesh will subsequently be expanding the YBNL empire with his own YAGI independent imprint. At the moment, Olamide still manages Temmie Owasa, Chinko Ekun, Adekunle Gold, and Viktoh, who have all also established a niche following in the industry.
The controversy surrounding the success of Davido’s signee Mayorkun may have made headlines, but it is not enough to deter the validity of his Davido Music Worldwide label as one of the biggest new comer independent fronts in the industry today. As a breakaway label from Davido’s former HKN, the OBO has already demonstrated his eye for talent by signing Mayorkun and Dremo, whose growing fan base have so far been largely independent of Davido’s star power as we often have with many Nigerian labels.
Any mention of record labels in Nigeria cannot be complete without Chocolate City Music, which unarguably remains one of the most white collar music companies in the country in terms of organisation. With over 20 signed artistes and two independent labels owned by Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince signed to the label, not many in Nigeria today can match their level of organisation or eye for talent.
Other labels on the rise include E-Money’s 5 star music where talents like KCEE, Harrysongz and Skibi are signed, Ubi Franklin’s Made Men Music Group home to Iyanya, Tekno, Selebobo, Baci and most recently Tonye Garrick; Emperor Geezy’s G-Worldwide where Kiss Daniel and Sugaboi are camped and The Okoye brothers’ Square Records who recently started a signing spree with independent records belonging to each Okoye brother.
Each of these label bosses have come to the game with both experience and a sense of business, but who is the best of them all? Tell us in the poll below.
If your preferred record label CEO is not on this list, kindly tell us in the comment section.