Record labels are a well-structured company that recruits new artists and develop them (known as A &R, Artist, and Repertoire).
Similarly, they also market recorded music and corresponding videos. Their functions also include music publishing and copyright enforcement.
More importantly, record labels in Nigeria are consequential to the success and growth of the music industry over the years.
Rising to prominence of most Nigerian music artists can be attributed to these record labels.
Here are our top 5 record labels in Nigeria in 2021. This list is compiled based on the number of songs produced under the record label, the popularity of the songs produced, and the quality of artists they have developed.
1. Marvin Records
Marvin Records is a Nigerian record label founded on the 8th of May, 2002.
It was formed by highly respected producer, songwriter, and music executive Don Jazzy.
H, the record label was originally called Mo’ Hits Records, jointly owned by another singer D’ Banji.
It was renamed Marvin Records after D’ Banji left defunct Mo’ Hits Record. Marvin Records is indisputable the biggest record label in the Nigerian music industry.
The labels have housed talented artists including Korede Bello, Dr. Sid, Di’ja, D’ Prince, Johnny Drille, Ladipoe, Rema, Crayon, DNA Twins, and Ayra Starr.
Tiwa Savage, Iyanya, Wande Coal, and Reekado Banks were formerly signed by the label. It is one of the leading record labels in Africa.
In January 2019 Marvin Records secured an investment worth millions of dollars with Kupanda Holdings. The label has won several awards across Africa.
2. Davido Music Worldwide (DMW)
DMW was founded by Nigerian-American singer, songwriter, and record producer Davido.
In January 2016, Davido signed a record deal with Sony Music, he then exited from HKN Music to launch the Davido Music Worldwide (DMW).
He started the record label signing Mayokun, Peruzzi, and rapper Dremo.
Davido and the DMW brand are well known for the Watchword We Rise By Lifting Others. DMW has presently houses many artists like Davido, Mayorkun, Dremo, Peruzzi, B-Red, DJ ECool, Idowest, Lilfosh, Deekay, Yonda, Ichaba, Ayanfe, and Sinzu.
3. Chocolate City
Chocolate City is the oldest record label in Nigeria. It was founded in 2005 by a Lawyer, Audu Maikori, and Paul Okeugo.
It is referred to as the most successful and biggest urban record label in Africa.
Chocolate City operates as a subsidiary of a parent company called Chocolate City Group.
The record label formed a partnership with Warner Music Group, a deal which enabled artists under the Chocolate City to join WMG’s repertoire and receive the support of the company’s distribution and artist services via its independent label services division ADA.
The record label has housed Victoria Kimani, Ice Prince, DJ Caise, DJ Lambo, Jeremiah Gyang, Ruby Gyang, Pryse, Brymo, Koker and Jesse Jagz, Lemon Adisa, Mr. Gbafun, and Ijay.
It has also worked on the career of artists like Asa and Djinee.
Artists currently under the record label include M.I Abaga, Femi Kuti, Nosa, Dice Ailes, Blaqbonez, ClassiQ, CKay, Candy Bleakz, Torna, and Dijay Cinch.
Chocolate City has won several awards including International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year Award-Global Winner 2007, African Awards for Entrepreneurship” 2011- Africa Awards, and Record Label of the Year – City People Entertainment Awards, 2011.
4. Starboy Entertainment
Starboy Entertainment is an independent record label founder by Wizkid in 2012.
Wizkid moved finally to start Starboy Entertainment after his 5-year contract with Empire Mate Entertainment (E.M.E).
Wizkid has grown Starboy Entertainment to one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria.
The label is home to many recording artists such as himself; Wizkid, L.A.X, Maleek Berry, Legendury Beatz, and DJ Olu is the official DJ of the label.
5. YBNL Nation
Yahoo Boy No Laptop Nation, popularly known as YBNL Nation is an independent Nigeria record label founded by singer, rapper, and songwriter Olamide in 2012.
Olamide was formally under the Code Tones Record Label founded by ID Cabasa. YNBL record label was named after Olamide’s sophomore album YBNL that was released in 2012.
Olamide under this label has promoted many young talented Nigerian artists who have no platform to showcase their craft.
YBNL has housed many artists including Olamide, Adekunle Gold (who designed the record label’s logo), Lil Kesh, Chinko Ekun, Limerick, Xino, Viktoh, Lyta, and Pelepele. Olamide, Fireboy DML, and DJ Enimoney are currently under the record label.