We live in an age where the power of traditional record labels has waned significantly. These days, Nigerian musicians operate in the music industry on their own with backings of sponsors who remain quiet partners.
What led to the demise of record labels is a story for another day. In this article, Legit.ng lists record labels that are still active and whose musicians are at least ‘reigning.’
This is in no way a slight towards independent musicians. This is just a way of celebrating those who feel the place of a record label is not dead in the music industry.
Davido Music Worldwide was established in 2016 by popular musician Davido who after setting up HKN Music with his elder brother decided to create a label where he could make all the decisions. The label has since flourished in less than two years of its existence. In 2018, the label has been responsible for a large number of hit songs released already. It is home to Davido, Dremo, Yonda, Peruzzi, E-Cool, Mayorkun and most recently Saucekid.
Founded by record producer Don Jazzy in 2012, Mavin records was born after Don Baba J split with his long-time partner Dbanj. Their record label Mo Hits’ wouldn’t survive the split hence Don Jazzy founded Mavin with a number of acts including Wande Coal, Dr Sid, D’Prince and others. This label has also enjoyed significant success in recent times with its bevy of acts like Tiwa Savage, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Di’Ja, Poe, Johnny Drille and DNA Twins.
Home to popular musician Wizkid, this label was introduced to Nigerians in 2013 after the dad of three left Banky W’s EME records. The label was at one time home to acts like Maleek Berry and L.A.X. Most of the label’s success has been as a result of Wizkid’s talent.It's also home to Terri and Ahmed.
Less than a year ago, Universal Music Group Nigeria was established in 2017. The label is home to both international and Nigerian acts like Nasty C, Cina Soul, Odunsi The Engine, Tay Iwar, Nonso Bassey and others. The entrant of this global music giant also signified that the rest of the world is paying attention to African music.
X3M records was founded by advertising guru Steve Babaeko in 2012. Currently the label is home to acts like Simi, Praiz, D-Truce and Sammy but Simi has been the stand out act on the label.
Another label founded in 2012. It is reported in some quarters that the founder Olamide was inspired to give his label the name he gave his sophomore album. Famous for the two year contract it gives its acts, Baddo has helped a number of acts some of whom include Adekunle Gold, Lil Kesh, Viktoh, Lyta, Chinko Ekun, DJ Enimoney, Davolee, Temmie Ovwasa and Limerick.
The label behind star musician Ycee is also home to rising acts Dapo Tuburna, Bella Alubo and Damilare. It was established by Arokodare Tinny Timilehin.
Once a powerhouse of Nigerian music, Fivestar was also once home to Kcee, HarrySongz, and Skiibii. Jointly founded by Kcee and his brother E-Money, it appears only Kcee is still the only act on its books.
Crystal Empire Music and Records earned a place on this list because of the words of its CEO Godwill Osazee who said the label was established because the label aims to help “young, talented and upcoming music acts.” He further added that "While big African music talents seem to be taking over the music industry, not so much has been done to help the young, talented and upcoming music acts. This is where Crystal Empire Music and Records comes in particularly helpful with the unveiling of the record label and it will be signing young, talented and upcoming music acts."
Its co-founder Osabueku Obazee is also quoted as saying the label intends to take over the industry with loads of good vibes and music at its unveiling.
Made Men Music Group
Once home to acts Iyanya, Emma Nyra, Baci, Tekno and Selebobo, the label was once an emerging force in the industry. Now only Tekno remains from that time. According to several sources, half of the label has been sold. However, Ubi Franklin is still running things.
This label has been embroiled in scandal due to their flagship artiste Kizz Daniel formerly Kiss Daniel leaving. However, its impact when Daniel was still repping them cannot be underestimated. It is still home to Sugarboy.
Effyzzie Music Group is home to Yemi Alade and Geniuzzz. With the able hands of Taiye Aliyu, the label has helped Yemi become a household name in Africa.
A division of Temple Management, Temple music is home to acts like Grammy winner Lekan Babalola, BBNaija’s Bisola, Iyanya, and Jeff Akoh.
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