“When Mo’Hit broke up, I was like know what? Its never happen’ to us. Then ChocBoys broke up, I was like hold up, how on earth that happen to us, men!!! This no be the plan, that we plan from the start. This no be the kind thing we suppose to talk about. So you need to tell me that never again ChocBoys no go climb stage to shut down event”
MI’s opening lyrics from the song BROTHER gets me wounded each time I think about how record labels in Nigeria fade away so fast. Each time a record labels fails, it pierces the hearts of fans, families and business investors. We are often filled with questions like what could have been done differently to keep the flame burning? How did they get it wrong? How did this promising fire burn out so quickly?
How many of you remember Kennis Music? Yeah Kennis Music was the dream of every Nigerian artiste. The duo of Keke and D1 held the music industry sway with an amazing mix of professionalism and street smart. They were the toast of larger corporations with interests in music related endeavours. Kennis Music then had an amazing reputation in Africa and every artiste they touched turned to gold. But where is Kennis Music today?
Do you all remember Storm 360? The label that housed Naeto C, GT the Guitarman, Dare, Sasha P, Ikechukwu General Pype, L.O.S., Ms Jaie, Tosin Martins, and Yung 6ix. The bosses Obi Asika and Olisa Adibua were amazing on the job. It was lucrative deals upon deals for Storm 360. No one could have guessed many years later the essence of this corporation would be reduced to a line in history.
How about Question Mark Entertainment that spurred the careers of Asa, Cobahms, Mode 9, Street Monks, Silver Saddih, and Nnnena. How is Chocolate City home to Ckay, Jesse Jagz, Nosa, Dice ailes, Koker, Qrtitiqal, Dj Lambo, Loose Kayon, Ruby Gyang, MI Abaga, Victoria Kimani, Ice Prince fairing? If Tecno leaves the Made Men Music Group, wouldn’t that signal the end? Where is D’Banj’s DB Records? Isn’t Banky’s W and Capt. Demuren Empire Mates Entertainment struggling? Now that Davido has started his Davido Music Worldwide, could this spell doomsday for the HKN gang? Is Peter, Paul and Jude’s Square Records a label? Why is Clarence’s Capital Hill more about music videos? Would Hypertek survive if 2baba leaves? What can we do to grow Timaya’s Dem Mama Records? Been a while we heard anything from 9ice’s Alapomeji Records, La’kreem Records, Ruggedman’s Rugged Records, Sound Sultan’s Naija Ninja, Terry G’s House of Ginger, and HF Music?
Why do Nigerian record labels fail?
Most Nigerian record label “owners” hardly have a well-crafted document that details the whole structure and business model of their label; clear goals, direction and action plans. Ask P-Square if any of such document exists for Square Records. How do you measure success and how do you reevaluate your journey if there isn’t any benchmarking guide?
Record labels shouldn’t be birthed just because you had a massive hit or an amazing album that year. My people, it takes a lot of funding to work a record label business. The music industry is quite competitive and ample funding is required to stay afloat.
Nigerian record labels have suffered many sever leadership crisis than any other industry. Many equate being a successful artiste with leadership. No sir! Any Nigerian Record label without a leader, will undoubtedly fail. You can take this to the bank.
Just like the sport industry, talents are the lifeblood of any music business. Find them! Not one, not two but many! The old model where labels had one or two successful acts in order to ‘fund’ 80% of their other failed acts, absolutely needs to go.
No Checked Ego
Unchecked Egos will tear apart even the closest allies and cause individuals to think they can do better on their own than with the group. This is deadlier than all the other reasons put together. Want to make it big in the business, then you MUST periodically check your ego.