The Nigerian music industry started off with great hope and aspiration and many who opened up the industry made it clear that it would surely head to the top. But are they still in the game? ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM writes on top record labels that fizzled out after their major artistes left.
After a careful look through memory lane into the Nigerian music industry, it is important to note that label owners must avoid making such terrible mistakes that would cost them their major selling points.
Many top record labels have failed terribly because they build their business around one major artiste instead of trying to grow all the artistes signed under the label.
It’s a sad thing to see the key act exit the label without any better replacement available on ground. Things start going bad and the reputation of the label is left to diminish eventually leading to the collapse of everything.
Many artistes (Nigerian) who have left their label claim they had either been betrayed or had to deal with a clause in their contract that wasn’t favorable to them. And though some spent years afterwards doing what they do best, others never really pick up after the big divorce with their label.
So what can be done to prevent upcoming record labels from falling into this situation? How can they learn from the mistakes of the failed or already falling record labels?
It is simple, they shouldn’t sell their big artistes and also they should have more than one top act on the label. Check out these record label and where they are today.
- Kennis Music – 2face (2Baba)
In any discussion about those that made the Nigerian entertainment industry what it is today, there is no way Kennis Music won’t be mentioned. The main players of this label back in the day where the likes of Kenny Ogungbe, Ayo D1 and others. The record label used to be the most successful in Nigeria during the early 2000 with the best artistes representing Nigeria on the global map signed under them.
Owned by popular media mogul, Kenny Ogungbe, a.k.a ‘Keke’ and Dayo Adeneyi, a.k.a ‘D1,’ the label was well known all over the World for their good work in the Nigeria music space with millions of cash to throw around.
There top and only musician then was 2face. He was signed unto Kennis Music after his divorce from Plantation Boiz.
Trouble started in 2007/2008 when 2face Idibia made the famous exit from Kennis Music which badly affected the label’s acceptance and reputation.
After 2face’s exit from the label, they tried their hands on some other artistes such as Olu Maintain, Jaywon, Kelly Handsome, Joe El. Though they released hits yet, they couldn’t bring back the old glory they enjoyed as the No.1 in Nigeria when 2face was on board.
When Kelly Handsome was asked why he left Kennis Music, he said the problem with the label and the owners is that they want to own it all and give little to the artistes. “Though they wouldn’t tell people what really made them leave the label, the contract wasn’t good enough. That was what made 2face to leave and they are still owing billions in contract, “he said.
When the same question was thrown to Kenny Ogungbe sometimes back, on the issue raised by one of his artistes at Nanet Suites, he refused to comment. 2face exit relegated Kennis Music’s relevance completely and disposed them of their top spot.
With this situation, the owners of Kennis Music now own and run a Radio Station in Lagos, Kennis 104.1 FM.
- Mo Hits – D’banj
The relationship, fame and popularity that D’banj and Don Jazzy brought to the game can never be overemphasised. Mo Hits Records is not just the average definition of Record Label, they had the juice, recognition, name it, they were the best label back then with artistes like D’banj, Wande Coal, D’prince, Dr Sid, Kayswitch signed under it and they were all doing well.
Trouble started when D’banj decided to pay more attention on activating his brand internationally. Things went sour between the label boss ‘Don Jazzy’ and D’banj which officially ended the reign of the Mo-hits empire.
D’banj left Mo-hits with his brother Kayswitch to form ‘DB Records’ and Don Jazzy left with other artistes signed under the label to form Mavin Records.
The rift between D’banj and Don Jazzy broke down Mo hits Record completely.
Though Mavin Records could still leverage on Tiwa Savage and Reekado Banks who are still helping to push the label to the peak, it would never be like when D’Banj was the brand’s face. Though the Koko Master has also released some couple of hits, he still hasn’t gotten his mojo back.
- EME Records – Wizkid
After the above record labels started fumbling and giving way to upcoming labels, EME Records, owned by Olubankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, housed amazing entertainers such as Wizkid, Skales, Niyola, DJ Xclusive, Shaydee and few others. The label used to be one of the most powerful record labels around.
Trouble started between Wizkid and EME in 2012 after they had issues with the way funds was shared between both parties including the manager.
The issue was later resolved but not too long after, disagreement ensued in the camp which saw Wizkid finally exiting the Label to start his Star Boy record label.
EME Records gradually started losing their shine until the Label finally folded up after the exit of Skales.
Shaydee and Niyola put in all their best to remain under the Label but were forced to move on from EME. Banky later changed the name of his company to accommodate other functions like filmmaking, event planning, artistes’ management and others.
- MMMG (Tripple MG) – Iyanya
TrippleMG was formed by Ubi Franklin and Iyanya in 2011 with artistes such as Emma Nyra, Selebobo, Tekno, Basi and host of others signed to the Label.
Trouble started after Emma Nyra parted ways with the record label in 2014 due to personal reasons which includes dating Ubi Franklin.
Iyanya and Ubi Franklin incessant in-fighting and clash of decisions and loggerheads over finances and a lot of other key decisions on the running of the label ruin down the label totally.
In 2014, the label had to let go two artistes, Emma Nyra and Baci, which according to sources, did not go down well with Iyanya. Baci, most especially had a special bond with Iyanya, a friendship that had been honed over several years.
Also, financial mismanagement issues were also a huge part of the disagreement. Things got worse during and after Ubi’s celebrity wedding to Nollywood actress, Lilian Esoro, in November 2015. It is believed that Iyanya was not in favour of the union, and the effect it has on the business.
Iyanya pulled out of the Label in 2015 with some other acts on the label using the door also, MMMG Record influence in the music industry nosedived and crash badly.
Today, the label is struggling to survive with nothing much heard about the once influential label.
- GWORLDWIDE – Kiss Daniel
This is the most recent of them all. The Exit of Kiss Daniel crashed Gworldwide Business Empire badly and ended their reign as one of the most promising label in the country.
Kiss Daniel was signed to GWorldwide in 2013 on recommendation by his label mate, Sugarboy. According to investigations, the singer was signed to a 360 deal in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Kiss Daniel’s problems with G-Worldwide started with the success of ‘Woju.’ Investigations reveal that after the song began to gain traction early in 2015, the singer demanded for an update on his contract.
A close source to the singer and his label revealed that Kiss Daniel approached the management of Emperor Geezy for revised contract to reflect his growth in the music industry.
After negotiations between the legal reps of both parties, his terms were updated starting from the first quarter of 2015.
In the initial deal, the singer was entitled to 30 per cent of all the net profits from his performance fees. The record label was investing heavily at this point to ensure his newfound momentum was sustained.
Issues became worst between the singer and the label, they were unable to settle the dispute and this led to the exit of Kiss Daniel from the label which badly stepped down the influence of Gworldwide in the music industry.
Nothing special has been heard about the label in recent times except the signing of two new artistes, Easy Jay and Ajura. As Kiss Daniel has continued to churn out hits, his record label is still trying to come to terms with his exit.
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