TOP 10 RECORD LABELS IN NIGERIA
Nigeria’s music industry is arguably one of the best in the world. Our music stars are now releasing record breaking music, selling out world famous arenas and just being generally successful.
One of the major factors responsible for this success are record labels. Of course, now most of our A-list stars are signed to major record labels in the U.K and U.S such as RCA, Sony, Warner and the likes. But a majority of them all started their career with record labels in Nigeria.
What is a Record Label?
A record label is a company responsible for the production, distribution, marketing and promotion of music.
A record label also conducts scouting and development of artistes. They also maintain contracts with the recording artists, songwriters, producers and their managers.
The industry has evolved from what it used to be in the past.
Now, you don’t necessarily need a record label to achieve success but being in one can help accelerate your progress and get there faster, especially if you join the right one.
In this article, we would be profiling the top 10 record labels in Nigeria.
1) MAVIN RECORDS
This is no doubt one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria and West Africa. Mavin Records is home to some of the best young stars in Nigeria.
Mavin Records is owned by music producer and businessman Don Jazzy.
Don Jazzy formed Mavin Records on the 8th of May, 2012 after leaving the now defunct Mo’ hits records. He signed Tiwa Savage immediately, before adding producers; Altims and Baby fresh.
Since making its debut in 2012, Mavin Records have ruled the African music scene.
There is no other reason for this other than their great attention to detail in hiring personnel behind the cameras.
Mavin employs some of the most talented and hardworking artiste and repertoires, songwriters, producers and artistes. It’s basically a music hive.
Mavin also has a music academy that scouts upcoming talent, recruits them and trains them into becoming international superstars.
Some of the notable talents signed to Mavin Records are artists; Rema, Ayra Starr, Crayon, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille and recently Magixx, Boy Spyce and Bayanni. Also Producer; Andre Vibez responsible for worldwide hits such as feeling, Calm down, Rush and Overdose etc.
This makes it one of the best record labels in Nigeria.
YBNL Full meaning is Yahoo Boy No Laptop. It was founded in 2012 by legendary indigenous rapper Olamide Adedeji, who goes simply as Olamide. The label was named after his sophomore album.
Back in the day, YBNL was affiliated and known for signing majorly street artists and producers like Lil Kesh and Young John but have since evolved and the label is now more diverse in the kind of artistes they sign evident with the signings of Adekunle Gold and Fireboy dml.
If there’s anything that makes YBNL a top 10 record label in Nigeria, it’s Olamide’s nose. He could sniff talent a mile away.
His ear is also one of the best in the industry too, he recently leaked Fireboy dml’s single Peru because he thought it had the potential to be an international hit even when Fireboy didn’t think so.
It is therefore not surprising that YBNL is number 2 among the top 10 record labels in Nigeria
YBNL also just signed a promotional deal with Empire. This makes signing with YBNL a lot more lucrative as it provides a faster pathway to international success.
Asake, Fireboy and Olamide himself are the artists currently signed to YBNL
3) CHOCOLATE CITY
Chocolate city is one of the oldest record labels on the list. Founded in 2005 by Audu Maikori along with Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori. In 2015, Audu stepped down and M.I became the CEO.
A huge chunk of artists have been affiliated with chocolate city in one way or the other.
Many record labels have come and gone over the years but Chocolate City has remained standing for almost two decades due to their impeccable structure.
This is why Chocolate city is one of the best record labels in Nigeria
Chocolate city has been home to Ckay, Victoria Kimani, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz etc. in the past. The biggest African song ever-Love Nwantiti was released under this label.
It’s currently home to Young John, Blaqbonez, Tar1q and Candy Bleakz.
4) JONZING WORLD
Founded on March 22nd, 2019 by Charles Enebeli aka D’prince. Unknown to many, D’prince was the one who discovered Rema not Mavin Records.
Jonzing world was just starting out then and D’prince felt Mavin was more equipped to accelerate the progress of Rema, so he introduced Rema to his big brother Don Jazzy.
Rema then signed a distribution and publishing deal with Mavin although he’s still affiliated with Jonzing world.
A few years later Jonzing world signed dancehall artiste Ruger with no affiliation to Mavin Records. Ruger has gone on to be one of the most successful young artistes in Nigeria currently, and was recently nominated for the next rated Headies award which he lost narrowly to Bnxn fka buju.
Jonzing world easily takes a spot as one of the top record labels in Nigeria.
It’s safe to say, in a short time Jonzing world has established themselves as a top 10 record label in Nigeria.
5) EMPAWA AFRICA
Empawa Africa was founded in November 2018 by Tosin Ajibade, an Afrobeats star and business man who goes by Mr. Eazi.
Empawa Africa is not exactly a record label per say, but they do function as one. Mr. Eazi describes it as a bank for African artistes that produces services.
When it was founded, 100 African artists from 11 African countries were picked and each one was given a fully funded music video. Eventually, only the top 2 or 3 artists are fully invested in.
Empawa Africa is definitely one of the best record labels in Nigeria
Afropop star, Joeboy and buzzing female vocalist Fave, known for the viral single Baby riddim are two of the top artistes at Empawa Africa.
6) DAVIDO MUSIC WORLDWIDE
Founded in 2016 by David Adedeji Adeleke, Afrobeats superstar Davido after leaving his previous record label, HKN music.
He started the label with two artistes, Holy Father crooner Mayorkun and rapper Dremo.
Between 2016-2021, DMW were responsible for a lot of hit songs in the Nigerian music scene. In that time, Mayorkun won 3 Headies awards including the next rated award in 2018.
Davido Music worldwide is definitely a top record label in Nigeria.
Things seem to have cooled down now with Davido taking a step back but it’s only a matter of time before this label is atop the top 10 record labels in Nigeria again.
Davido and Liya are the artists currently signed under DMW.
7) STARBOY ENTERTAINMENT
Founded by Ayodeji Balogun, another Afrobeats giant, Wizkid in 2013 after leaving Banky W’s Empire Mates Entertainment. His first signings were Maleek Berry, Legendary beatz and himself.
Maleek Berry was a force to be reckoned with before his hiatus from the industry and Legendary beatz are the music duo responsible for producing Wizkid hits like caro and ginger.
In 2018, he signed Starboy Terri, who he collaborated with to produce the international smash hit soco.
In the label’s early years, it was alleged that he had signed Mr. Eazi, Ghanaian artists Efya and R2bees.
These artists have since come out to debunk this fact and say they were never signed but only affiliated with the label. Signed or not, it did great things for their careers
Starboy Entertainment is one of the best record labels In Nigeria and takes a top ten spot in the best record labels in Nigeria.
Starboy Entertainment is managed by Wizkid’s manager Jada Pollock.
8) Eezee Concepts
Eezee concept is definitely one of the top 10 record labels in Nigeria and the reason for this is not far-fetched.
They have the top hottest Nigerian gospel singers. There is Mercy Chinwo , Minister GUC, Judikay and recently, Chidinma Ekile
9) LOVEWORLD RECORDS
Loveworld records is a Gospel music centered record label founded by Chris Oyakhilome in 2009.
Loveworld records is the first record label dedicated solely to the publishing, production, promotion, marketing and distribution of gospel music and gospel artistes alike in Nigeria.
The industry is populated with Afrobeats artists. One would think that there is no space for gospel artists but that couldn’t be more far from the truth.
Loveworld records is definitely one of the top ten record labels in Nigeria.
Some of the top Gospel artists pose numbers that many afrobeats artists can only dream of; from Sinach’s Waymaker to Mercy Chinwo’s Chinedum, these are just a few of the record breaking Gospel smash hits from Nigeria.
Loveworld Records has been home to artists like Sinach, Ada Ehi, Frank Edwards, Joe Praize etc.
10) MARLIAN RECORDS
Founded in 2019 by Azeez Adeshina Fashola, Naira Marley. He announced the launch of the label during the Marlian fest in December 2019, where he unveiled Zinoleesky, Mohbad, Cblvck and Fabian blu as new signings.
Marlian records is a record label that represents the streets and they aim to show that you can make it no matter where you come from.
Marlian records is definitely one of the top ten record labels in Nigeria.
Marlian records have been in different controversies in recent times but that doesn’t take away their capabilities as a record label as some of their artistes have risen to the top in a short time.
For instance, Zinoleesky is a fan favorite already and was nominated for the next rated award recently which he lost out to BNXN fka Buju.
Top 10 Record Labels in Nigeria
- Mavin Records
- Chocolate City
- Jonzing world
- Empawa Africa
- Davido Music worldwide
- Starboy Entertainment
- Eezee Concepts
- Loveworld Records
- Marlian Records
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