If the music industry was a ‘universal set’ then we can say a record label is a subset, while the artists are the populations in each subset. Simply say ‘a record label is a network of music performers that produce musical content and sell it to the public; they have artists, producers, DJs, dancers, and all kinds of music professionals whose major aim is to ensure that the company makes a profit from the music business.
A record label recruits new talented artists at intervals who can impact tremendously in favour of the business. Labels can be of two kinds: the major labels and the independent record labels.
Independent labels are smaller musical companies, unlike the major labels that sign big artists on contracts and pay them heavily.
In spite of the numerous obstacles in the industry, a panegyric of 10 musical companies have been outstanding in their performances in the music business.
Today, we have compiled this list of the top 10 most popular and biggest labels in the Nigerian music industry.
Mainly Manned by Don Jazzy, Mavin is one of the music labels that every young talent out there wishes to join. It was founded on the 8 may, 2012 shortly after the closure of MO ‘Hits Records which was owned by don jazzy and D’banj
Mavins is a song producing unit for several Nigeria artists like Rema, Dr sid, Ayra starr, Korede Bello, Johnny Drille, boy spyce etc.
The label was nominated for the Best record label of the year 2013 city people entertainment awards and later won it in 2014.
Named after the second album of the popular ever-loving music artist Olamide, YBNL is an abbreviation for ‘yahoo boy no laptop’
It is trustfully one of the best record labels with classic and already established stars both past and present.
The YBNL music has topped charts on several platforms for several years with the likes of Lil kesh, Vector, Chinko Ekun, Dj Enimoney, and Adekunle Gold, among others.
They were nominated for and also won the award for the best record label of the year 2015-2016.
Presently the label is still performing well with the presence of the label boss Olamide, and his crew: Fire Boy, Jayboi, Precious, B.Banks, Whizhablbaby, Young John, Pheelz and the ever-living Dj Enimoney.
‘Davido Music Worldwide is a private music company owned by the Afrobeats singer, Davido since 2016. Along with other recruited artists like Peruzzi, Idowest, Danagog, Dremo, Yonda,Deinde, Dj Ecool, Ayanfe, and Davido’s cousin, B-red.
DMW had been nominated for (2016) and even won the award for the record label of the year three consecutive times (2017-2019) On the Beatz and City People Music award.
Named after his 2016 music hit album, this record label was launched in 2013 by the Grammy award winner, “Wizkid” shortly after he left the empire mates entertainment founded by the Nigerian popular singer, Banky-W.
Wizkid narrated that his aim of creating the label was to uplift or nurture upcoming talents in the Nigerian Society.
Some of the artists in the Starboy crew include L.A.X, Efya, R2Bees, Maleek Berry, Legendary Beatz, Terri etc.
The Marlians music label was founded by the controversial Musician, Azeez Fashiola, A.K.A Naira Marley in 2020.
Without hesitation, Naira Marley signed about four artists into his label during his show at the Marlian feast. These artists include Mohbad, Zinoleesky, Dj Lambo, Brymo, Blaqbonez Cblack, and Fabian.
Right there on the open ground, he emphasised that he wanted to use the platform to announce his newly found label, pointing out generously that the label is dedicated to his fans, “Marlians”.
The announcement was also made official on his social media handle shortly after that night show.
Chocolate City Music
It was founded in 2005 by Audu Maikori with support from Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori.
The label has its head-quarter in Lagos, Abuja, Nairobi, and New York City.
This label operates as a subsidiary company with the likes of ice prince, Jesse Jagz, M.I, and Brymo to burst the culture of hip-hop music in Nigeria.
Recently evolution have recruited younger artists like Koker, Ruby, Dice Ailes etc
In 2011, ice prince won the award for this label as the African rapper to win the BET awards.
Also, the album with the highest sales on iTunes from MI’s album ‘Chairman’ made additional fame to chocolate city.
In 2007, Chocolate City was the first label to obtain a global music award and recognition by the British Council, international young music entrepreneur of the year (IYMEY)
Five Star Music
Supported firmly by the wealth and high music business IQ of the prominent Nigeria billionaire, Emeka Okwonkwo, popularly known as E-Money; the five Star record label made it to the A-list with many contributions from the popular Afrobeats singer Kcee. His popular hit single “Limpopo” gave more global recognition to the company.
Other stars like Skibii and Harrysong contributed as well. However, the latter departed from the crew after many party hit songs.
This label really deserves to be mentioned here from its past and present performances, it was founded in 2007 by Festus Ehimare, also called Emperor Geezy as kiss Daniel would always often yell at the end of each song he drops for the company’s recognition.
The crew was latent and somewhat hibernated until the arrival of the popular hit maker and game changer, “Kizz Daniel”. It is obviously awkward to say an afrobeat fan from Nigeria or Africa at large never witnessed the mind-blowing jamz of the young lad immediately he got signed into the industry. His two singles: Woju, and Laye” alone are worth being the reason why the crew appears on our list.
This label came into existence in 2008 with one of Nigeria’s best rappers and singers, Phyno.
Formerly, artists in the company were the likes of Runtown, Shugaboi, Flipside, and later in 2014, stormed was signed.
The head of the crew have done vehemently well in growing the company. He had been nominated 15 times for “The Headies Award” and bagged it home 3 times.
In summary, Mr. Obago has 28 nominations and 5 awards presently.
Kennis music joined the race as far back as 1998, it was launched by Kehinde Ogunde, also called Keke, and the label was later supported by the arrival of Dayo Adeniyi (D1) into the label.
With the likes of 2baba (formerly called 2face), OJB Jezreel, and the late Sound Sultan in the crew, there will be perhaps no need for the narration of how the Kennis music gained its fame.
Presently, the company harbours key stars like Eedris Abdulkareem, Kenny Saint Brown, Essence, Capital Femi, and Jo-El.