When it comes to artiste management, music recording and promotions, there are record labels in Nigeria that tend to do these things really well.
In this post, we’ve provided a brief profile of 20 of these record labels.
Top 20 record labels in Nigeria
Mavin Records evolved from the popular Mo’ Hits which was founded by the duo of legendary Nigerian producer, Don Jazzy and music icon, D’Banj.
After the duo split in 2011, Don Jazzy went on to found Mavin Records, also known as the Supreme Mavin Dynasty in 2012.
Tiwa Savage is one of the most popular artistes under this label. She is popularly referred to as the first lady of Mavin. Others include Iyanya, Korede Bello, Di’Ja, D’Prince, Dr Sid, Reekado Banks, Johnny Drille, Poe and DNA Twins.
On May 1, 2014, Mavin released Dorobucci which was an instant hit. This single introduced to mainstream music, some of the little known Mavin artistes like Korede Bello, Reekado Bank and D’ija.
Kennis Music is known as the label that brought the legendary Nigerian singer, Innocent Idibia also known as 2Face to limelight.
Kennis Music was founded by the popular Nigerian radio DJ Kenny Ogungbe in the late 1990s.
Many popular artistes that have passed through Kennis Music include Eedris Abdulkareem, KC Presh, OJB Jezreel, Tony Tetuila, Goldie Harvey, Sound Sultan, elDee and Sir Shina Peters.
Empire Mates Entertainment (EME)
Founded in 2002, EME is owned by the popular Nigerian music star, Bankole Wellington (Banky W). The record label was established while Banky was a student at a local university in Albany, U.S.A.
The recording artistes at EME include Banky W, Niyola and Shaydee. DJ Xclusive is the official DJ for this record label.
Popular acts that have been groomed by EME and have gone on to establish themselves in the Nigerian Music industry include Wizkid and Skales. Wizkid and Skales exited EME at the expiration of their contracts.
Some of the popular albums released by EME over the years include:
- Mr Capable (2008) – Mr Capable
- The W Experience – Banky W
- Superstar (2009) – Wizkid
- Ayo – Wizkid (2014)
Founded by the trio of Audu Maikori, Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori in 2005, Chocolate City is one of the biggest labels in the country. Initially, Chocolate City was founded as nightclub but it later became a promotions company then a record label.
Some of the artists under Chocolate City include:
- Femi Kuti
- Ice Prince,
- Jesse Jagz
- Victoria Kimani
The label has also been involved with the likes of Asa and Djinee. In 2012, the popular business tycoon, Hakeem Bello-Osagie became the chairman of the board and the famous rapper M.I became the president.
Founded by Olamide in 2012, YBNL which means Yahoo Boy No Laptop has grown rapidly in the last few years to become one of the top record labels in the country.
Popular acts like Adekunle Gold and Lil Kesh were once signed on to Olamide’s YBNL. However, they have since left the record label.
Currently, DJ Enimoney, Temmie Ovwasa, Davolee and Olamide are the acts on YBNL Nation. Young John and Pheelz are the producers at YBNL.
Made Men Music Group
Made Men Music Group was founded by Ubi Ekapong Ofem (Ubi Franklin) in 2010. Prior to founding Made Men Music Group, Ubi Franklin worked as an assistant to Julius Agwu. He also worked with AY Makun and other artist before becoming a show promoter.
Franklin would later become the manager of Iyanya who would later become the first recording artist when Made Men Music Group was founded in 2010.
In 2014, the label later expanded to include Tekno, Emma Nyra and Selebobo. Two years later, Made Men Group released a compilation album, “the Evolution” which was produced by Selebobo along with Tekno and DJ Coublon.
In 2016, Ubi Franklin won the City People Music Awards for the Best Music manager of the year.
If you’ve ever heard any song by the popular Kiss Daniel, you must have heard him often give tribute his record label, G-Worldwide Entertainment.
This record label was founded by Festus Ehimare popularly called Emperor Geezy and it was established in 2007. However, the company didn’t start promoting musical acts until 2011. G-Worldwide signed their first performing artist which was Kiss Daniel in 2013.
Two years later, G-Worldwide signed reggae and RnB sensation, Sugarboy.
The label has a focus on specific music genre which include Afrobeat, RnB, Reggae and Soul Music
G-Worldwide is one of the top labels in the country and the major act, Kiss Daniel has won various awards in recent years.
Owned by the charismatic pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, this record label is geared towards discovering and grooming gospel artistes.
It was established in 2009 and some of the notable gospel musicians belong to this record label. These include Sinach, Frank Edwards and Joe Praize. Others include Ada Ehi, Chris Shalom, Eben, Buchi and Jahdiel.
The vision of Loveworld records is to take God’s divine presence to the people of the earth through Gospel music and creative arts.
The management team of Loveworld Records is headed by Ehi Moses, an accountant turn musician and producer. He has over 15 years experience in the music industry.
Established in the United Kingdom, Kaycee Records is owned and managed by Kennedy Kesidi Richard and Kingsley Chibuzor Aguoru.
Kaycee records have been promoting Nigerian acts in the U.K as far back as 1995. However, in 2010, the company expanded and launched its record label. During this launch, Kaycee Records presented the following artistes: Uche Barry Nwobi (Swith Barry), Ikechukwu Iroegbu (Snappy), Meldaline Maureen Uzoigwe (Mel-Dee), Chike Ken Nwoke (Seaflo), and the group Southend.
Currently, one of the popular artists at Kaycee Records is Safin de Coque, the son of the legendary musician Oliver de Coque. They also have Mr Bistop, a former member of Bracket under this label.
960 Music is another top record label in Nigeria. The headquarters of the label is in Lagos and it is headed by Mark Redguard.
This musical label has several independent record labels under it. These include Hypertek Digital, Aristokrat Records, Ultima Productions and Password.
960 Music was founded in 2013 and it was the first label in the country to have several record labels under its watch.
Some of the popular acts that have been involved with 960 Music include 2Face, Dammy Krane and Burna boy. Also, the legendary musician, Victor Uwaifo was recently signed to 960 Music through one of its subsidiaries, Hypertek Digital.
Capitol Hill Records
Capitol Hill Records is owned by the music video director, Clarence Peters. Clarence Peters is the son of legendary musician, Shina Peters.
Capital Hill Records has had several major acts on their label. Some of the past acts include Tha Suspect, rapper Kel.
Currently, the artistes with Capitol Hill Records are Ill Bliss, Tha Suspect, Chidinma, Fefe and Mz Kiss.
A few years ago, all the acts on Capitol collaborated to sing a song titled, ‘Finally (Adekunle)’.
Chidinma recently left the record label due to a disagreement in the sharing formula for revenue generation.
Five Star Music
The boss of Five Star Music is Emeka Okonkwo popularly called E-Money. He is the younger brother of popular musician, Kingsley Okonkwo popularly called K-Cee. The famous producer, Harrysong was also signed on to this record label until recently when a feud between the management of Five Star Music.
The exit of Harrysong from the record label was quite messy as the management of Five Star went after him a couple of times and got him arrested. But all that is behind them as their feud has been resolved amicably and Harrysong has moved on to his own record label, Alterplate.
Recently, Five Star Music signed a young rapper, Xbusta on to their record label and there’s currently much hype around him.
Wizkid is the artiste behind Starboy Records which he established after leaving Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) owned by his mentor, Banky W.
Starboy Records was established in 2013 and some of the acts on this label include producers Maleek Berry and Legendury Beats as well as singer LAX.
Wizkid released his second album titled ‘Ayo’ via his record label. In 2016, Starboy record was enlarged when it added Mr Eazi and Ghanaian acts Efya and R2Bees.
HKN which simply means Honourable Kings of New-School is one of the top record labels in the country.
The record label is owned by Davido popularly called Omobabaolowo or OBO for short. Davido has a couple of his cousins, Shina Rambo and B-Red signed on to this record label. Also, Mayourkun, a trending artiste is signed on to HKN. Another artiste signed on to HKN is Dremo. Below is the full list of the artistes signed on to HKN
- Shina Rambo
Recently, Davido founded a new record label, DMW (David Music Worldwide) and he has brought in Dremo and Mayourkun into the label.
Owned by the popular musical duo called Psquare, the Square records has only two artistes signed on to the label which are coincidentally the owners, Peter and Paul Okoye.
Although the Square Records has only 2 artistes, the Psquare duo have consistently produced albums that have won several awards.
Once upon a time, Square records attempted to grow their artiste’ base and this led them to signing the talented Mr May D. Things seem to go well for some time until some disagreements between the duo and May D caused him to be kicked out of the record label.
Alapomeji Ancestral Records
Founded by Abolore Akande popularly called 9ice, Alapomeji Ancestral Records is another top record label.
It was founded in 2008 as Alapomeji Records but was rebranded in 2015 to Alapomeji Ancestral Records. This happened at a time when some of the label artistes Seriki, Kayefi and Wise left.
Founded by the legendary musician Fela Kuti, Kalakuta Republic was located in Mushin in Lagos.
However, Kalakuta Republic wasn’t just a record label it comprised a free health clinic amongst other thing.
In 1977, the Republic was burnt down by soldiers which many claimed was in response to the record called, Zombie which Fela had just released at that time. The song referenced soldiers as Zombie and cited corruption and intimidation of communities as the hallmark of the Nigerian military.
Asides, the attack on the building, Fela’s mother was thrown from a window of the second floor. She would later die as a result of this accident.
Edge Records was founded by Ibrahim Okulaja and JahBless in 2005. The first music act to be signed to this label was 9ice. 9ice would later go on to become an instant hit in the Nigerian music scene when he released his first studio album, ‘Certificate.’
The current music acts at Edge Records include Reminisce, Ola Dips and SoJay.
Soul Muzik is an entertainment company based in Nigeria. The company was founded in 2008 and it is owned by the award-winning singer, Dare Art Alade (Darey).
The acts under Soul Muzik include Darey, Zaina Agoro and Mo Eazy. The latest release by this record label is a single titled, ‘Special Fever’ by Darey.
Although now defunct, we certainly cannot complete this list without mentioning Mo’ Hits Records.
Mo’ Hit was founded in 2004 by the duo of Don Jazzy and D’Banj. The songs releasesd by this label for the years in which they were existed were instant. Some that easily come to mind include Why me, Fall in love and Tongolo which were popular hits by D’banj. The label went on to sign music acts that also become popular. These included the like of Wande Coal, Dr Sid and D Prince.