20 Biggest Music Record Labels In Nigeria

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The Nigerian music industry has grown tremendously over the years. Today, it is one big marketplace primarily with musicians distributing their music with record labels or licensing companies they’ve already struck a deal with.

Various record labels in Nigeria are into artiste management, music recording, and marketing; also known as promotion. These record labels help musicians push their music in unique ways to the members of the public. 

The word ‘record label’ is from the paper label at the center of a gramophone record. A record label is a company that manufactures, distributes, and promotes the recordings of affiliated musicians established by signing a record deal.

Recording A Song In A Studio | Record Labels In Nigeria

Western domination is becoming actualizable in the Nigerian music scene, due to the internet and the world-bridging technologies. The domination is on the rise, underlining the need for strong record deal backing to help artists reach their goals. 

In this article, we take a look at 20 of the biggest record labels in Nigeria

How Can I Join One of The Record Labels in Nigeria?

Joining one of the best record labels in Nigeria is a big boost to one’s music career. Every upcoming artist looks up to this. The steps below explain how you can join a record label in Nigeria.

1. Target the Record Label and Develop your Song

The first step is targeting the record label of your choice and ensuring that your song is good and acceptable for the label. To do this, you can listen to the songs of top musicians in your genre and compare them with yours.  With this, you can spot the differences and fill in the missing link. You should also get an excellent production for your song. 

2. Build A Brand For Yourself

Presence is everything in the music industry. Keep putting yourself in the face of the record label you are targeting. Most of these record labels will only associate with you when they feel you have something tangible to offer or you’re already successful. You can create a SoundCloud profile.

You can locate a branding and packaging company that can help you build a brand for yourself. You can also reach out to artists in that record label and rapport with them. Be genuine and request that they check out your music. Always ask for honest feedback; this will help you develop better.

3. Let The World Know About It

To minimize cost, you can create a buzz on social media. Keep making posts around your music career. You can tag the record label you’re targeting.

To achieve this, you can create a Facebook fan page, YouTube account, Instagram handle, and Twitter account to increase your fanbase. 

Requirements for one to own a record label in Nigeria 

Owning a record label in Nigeria is not complicated. The requirements for one to own a record label are listed below:

1. Concrete Understanding of the Business

You must understand that there is a thin line between performing as an artist and operating a music business. Get your business plan as it covers everything about your record label. 

2. A Brand Name

The right name does the work better and can sell the business faster. Ensure to keep it short and catchy. Common phrases in Nigeria include “Marvin”, “DMW”, “YBNL” etc. You can search the internet for available names and to be sure the name you have chosen hasn’t been used by anyone, to avoid a lawsuit by the original owner.

3. Capital

Irrespective of the size, capital is a major requirement.  Ensure you get suitable capital to cover the studio, staff, and promotion at the start.

4. Register Your Brand Name

You’d have to register your label with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and obtain the necessary licenses. Registering a brand in Nigeria usually costs ₦ 100,000 – ₦ 200,000.

5. Get A Production Team

A team of experts including sound engineers, producers, publicists, social media managers, and graphic designers is needed. You can work with those from other record labels until you can sign your team of experts.

6. Recording Studio And Other Equipment

The most important part of music production is the recording studio. You can liaise with a sound recording studio around your locality whose charges are affordable before getting yours.

20 Biggest Music Record Labels In Nigeria

Below are the 20 Biggest Music Record Labels In Nigeria.

1. Mavin Records

Founded by the legendary Nigerian producer and singer known as Don Jazzy on the 8th of May, 20212, this record label came to the limelight in 2014 when it released a hit track titled ‘Dorobucci’, a song that featured several artists who were signed to the label back then.

The label has risen to be one of the best record labels in Nigeria and with Rema, Ayra Starr, LadiPoe, Johnny Drille, Crayon, Magixx, Korede Bello, and Boy Spyce on their roster, the label seems set for further greatness and dominance into the next decade.

Mavin Records Logo
Mavin Records logo | Record labels in Nigeria

Mavin Records has strong financial backing from international investors in Kupanda Holdings, a joint venture owned by Kupanda Investment and TPG Growth which has backed multinational companies like Uber.

Mavin Records is located at 285A, Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island, Lagos. You can send them an email at [email protected]

2. YBNL

YBNL was founded by Olamide in 2012 and is one of the biggest music record labels in Nigeria. YBNL is an acronym for Yahoo Boy No Laptop has signed popular artists like Lil Kesh, Viktoh, Chinko Ekun, Adekunle Gold, Lyta, Yomi Blaze, DJ Enimoney, Asake, Fireboy, and others on 19 February 2020, YBNL Nation signed a distribution and publishing deal with Empire Distribution.

3. Kennis Music

Kennis Music became a household name when it blew Innocent Idibia; currently referred to as 2Baba. It was founded by a popular radio DJ known as Kenny Ogungbe in the late 90s.

Other Nigerian artists aside from 2Baba who became popular through this label include Eedris Abdulkareem, the late Sound Sultan, the late OJB Jezreel, Eldee, KC Presh, the late Goldie, etc.

4. EME Records

EME was founded by popular Nigerian singer Bankole Wellington, musically known as Banky W. EME is an acronym for Empire State Entertainment and is one of the biggest music record labels in Nigeria.

Popular Nigerian artists including Wizkid and Skales have come to the limelight through this record label which is one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria.

5. Chocolate City

Chocolate City was founded by Audu Maikori, Paul Okeugo, and Yahaya Maikori and is one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria.

Chocolate City was also instrumental in establishing the second wave of the Nigerian hip-hop era with rappers like M.I Abaga, Jesse Jagz, and Ice Prince.

The famous Nigerian rapper MI Abaga became the president of this record label in 2012, while business tycoon Hakeem Bello-Osagie became the chairman of the board.

6. Spaceship Records

Spaceship Records was founded by Burna Boy on the 18th of February, 2015 after his exit from Aristokrat Records. They may not have a long list of popular recording artists but we have the Grammy-award-winning Burna Boy, Nissi, a veteran music producer, and the Grammy award-winning producer, Telz. 

Their impressive collaboration deals and tours off the back of their flagship star, Burna Boy, make them eligible for a claim to the title of being one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria.

Spaceship Records once housed new school sensation, Buju and has displayed an acute sense of working with the best talents and in Burna Boy’s case, continues to do so in sparkling colors. 

7. Davido Music Worldwide aka DMW

DMW was founded in 2016 after Davido left HKN Music and because of the label’s ability to leverage the fame, prestige, and largesse of its founder, Davido, it is ranked as one of the biggest music record labels in Nigeria. 

Industry favorites such as Peruzzi, Dremo, Yonda, Liya, and DJ ECool are part of DMW. 

8. Starboy Entertainment

Starboy Entertainment was founded by Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (Wizkid) in 2013 after he left EMW. This is one of the best record labels in the Nigerian Afrobeat music industry. 

Industry figures like producers Maleek Berry, Legendary Beats, and singers like Starboy Terri, DJ Tunez, Mr Eazi, Efya, R2Bees, and others, are on the label.

9. Marlian Music

Marlians Music was founded in 2019 by popular Nigerian street hop artist, Naira Marley. The likes of Zinoleesky, Cblack,  and Fabian Blue are on this label. Mohbad was a member before his painful demise.

10. Empawa Africa

Empawa Africa was founded in November 2018 by Oluwatosin Ajibade (Mr Eazi). 

The label has since signed Joeboy and Female vocalist, Fave. EMpawa Africa is not exactly taken as a record label per se, but they do function as one. 

11. Penthauze Music 

Phyno’s Penthauze Music is one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria and has been a powerhouse in the rap and hip-hop genres in Nigeria. Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, known as Phyno, is one of the most influential rappers in the country, and his ability to fuse traditional Igbo elements with contemporary rap has been a defining feature of Penthauze Music, and this fusion has earned the label a dedicated fan base.

Other artists on this record label include Rhatti and Nuno, who have contributed to the growing prominence of indigenous rap and hip-hop in Nigeria. 

12. Baseline Music

Baseline Music is one of the record labels in Nigeria to take note of. They are renowned for promoting various musical talents, with special recognition going to artists like Skales. 

Baseline Music has made a significant mark in the Nigerian music industry by offering a platform for artists to explore and experiment with their creativity.

This record label produced the likes of Skales, who has now established himself as a prominent figure in the industry. One cannot overstate the label’s contribution to the growth of diverse music genres.

13. Flyboy Inc

Flyboy Inc. was founded by Kizz Daniels in 2017, after leaving G Worldwide, and can be ranked as one of the leading record labels in Nigeria. Kizz Daniel maintains a very low profile and only news of his music goes out. 

Currently, Kizz Daniel is the only artist on the record label but, FlyBoy Inc. had in the past signed two artists; Demmie Vee and producer, Philkeyz. 

14. Squareball Entertainment

Squareball Entertainment was founded in 2010 by Adasa Cookey who is also a video director and cinematographer.

With only 1da Banton as the artist on their payroll, Squareball Entertainment has been able to make a name for themselves with the massive cross-platform charting success of his No Wahala hit. Tiwa Savage and Kizz Daniel also remixed the song, a further indicator of 1da’s success as well as the goodwill of his record label.

15. Keyqaad

Keyqaad Entertainment was founded by Valentine Ngaji in 2018 and has risen to be one of the best record labels in Nigeria. 

With guidance from this record label, Omah Lay has since then been able to grow and become the next big thing out of the country with successful tours to his name and a record with Justin Beiber as a prelude to his forthcoming EP. Kaestyle is another artist that Keyqaad can also boast of and it is clear that this is one of the record labels in Nigeria set to revolutionize music.

16. Jonzing World

Jonzing World is owned by Charles Enebeli, popularly known as D’Prince, who is the younger brother of Don Jazzy of Mavin Records. 

The record label was founded in 2019 and has discovered two immensely talented acts Rema and Ruger and given them adequate backing which has served to establish them as the stars they are today.

17. Mo Hitz Records

The list of the best record labels in Nigeria is not complete if we don’t mention this record label.

Though this record label went underground after the split of co-founders Don Jazzy and D’Banj; it is still important to mention it as one of the top record labels in Nigeria.

18. Loveworld Records

Loveworld Records was founded by the renowned Nigerian preacher Chris Oyakhilome of the Christ Embassy and is strictly on the gospel.

Loveworld Records was established in 2009 and has paraded great gospel artists like Frank Edwards, Sinach, Ada Ehi, and Buchi amongst many others.

19. 2Nite Music Group

2Nite Music Group was founded by the highlife maestro Flavour (Chinedu Okoli). This record label champions Afrobeat and highlife music and it is known for its infusion of Igbo culture and sounds. 

2Nite Music Group has also created a niche for itself in the Nigerian music landscape. Flavor has been the cornerstone of this label with his charismatic stage presence and powerful vocals. This label has risen to be one of the best record labels in Nigeria.

20. Hypertek Digital

Hypertek Digital is owned by the iconic artist 2Baba (Innocent Idibia) and he is a major player in the Nigerian music landscape. This record label has been a launchpad for several new artists and 2Baba’s contribution to the industry is undeniable.

Hypertek Digital is focused on producing quality music and combined with 2Baba’s legendary status, the label has attracted both established and emerging talents. 

Recording A Song

Conclusion

Nigeria’s music industry has evolved into a global powerhouse of Afrobeat and other musical genres due to the remarkable transformation over the years. The emergence of new artists and influential record labels paved the way for this shift and today, Nigerian music to gaining international recognition. 

In this article, we have taken a deep dive into the twenty biggest music record labels in Nigeria, exploring their history, impact on the industry, and the artists they’ve nurtured.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the richest youngest musician in Nigeria in 2023?

Rema is one of the richest young musicians in Nigeria with a net worth of $1.5 million, thanks to his viral songs, digital streams, endorsement deals, and successful tour,

Do record labels pay musicians?

The revenue is generally split between the label and the artists, but prominent artists may be able to arrange exclusive or preferential contracts. T

How does a label make money?

In a traditional record deal, the label takes a percentage of the revenue generated from album sales, while in a 360 deal, the label takes a cut of all of the artist’s revenue streams.

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