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Exploring Nigeria’s top 8 record labels: A glimpse into the vibrant Music Industry

Nigeria’s music scene is not only rich in talent but also boasts a diverse array of record labels that have played instrumental roles in shaping the industry. From nurturing emerging artists to making significant strides on the global stage, these record labels have left an indelible mark on the Nigerian music landscape. Let’s delve into the key features and accomplishments of the top 7 record labels in Nigeria:

1. Chocolate City:

Founded in 2005 by Audu Maikori, Paul Okeugo, and Yahaya Maikori, Chocolate City has solidified its position as a powerhouse in the Nigerian music industry. With a partnership with Warner Music Group, Chocolate City offers artists the support of WMG’s distribution and artist services. Under the leadership of MI Abaga, the label expanded by creating sub-labels such as 100 Crowns and Up North Records. Notable artists include Ckay, Candy Bleakz, Young John,  Blaqbonez, Major AJ and Dice Ailes.

2. Mavin Records:

Established in 2012 by Don Jazzy, Mavin Records has been a force to reckon with in the Nigerian music scene. Notable for securing a multi-million dollar investment from Kupanda Holdings in 2019, Mavin Records is home to artists like Ayra Starr, Rema, Crayon, Ladipoe, Magixx, Boy Spyce, Bayanni, Lifesize Teddy and Johnny Drille. With a recent majority investment from Universal Music Group, Mavin Global is poised to break more talent globally and expand its reach as a pan-African entertainment company.

3. DMW (Davido Music Worldwide):

Founded by Davido in 2016, DMW has remained at the forefront of record labels in Nigeria. Known for its innovative and expansive approach, DMW has garnered accolades such as Record Label of the Year at The Beatz Awards 2019. The label boasts a diverse roster of artists, including Dremo, Peruzzi, Danagog, B-Red,Deekay, May D, Deinde, Ayanfe, Morravey, SaytheycallmeSG and Logos Olori.

4. YBNL (Yahoo Boy No Laptop):

Established by Olamide in 2012, YBNL has made significant strides in the Nigerian music industry. With a distribution and publishing deal with Empire Distribution, YBNL has become synonymous with groundbreaking talent. Artists like Fireboy DML, B.Banks, Jayboi, Senth and Asake call YBNL home, solidifying its status as a powerhouse label.

5. Dapper Group:

Founded in 2018 by Damilola Akinwunmi, Dapper Group has rapidly redefined the landscape of African music. With a focus on innovative strategies and a technology-driven approach, Dapper Group has managed the distribution and release of over 2,000 songs. Artists under the label, including Balloranking, Shallipopi, Bhadboi OML, Bharry Jay, Reeha, T.I Blaze, Pa Brymo, Tega Boi and ZerryDL and Seyi Vibez, have achieved impressive success in streaming, cementing Dapper Group’s reputation as a trailblazing force in the industry.

6. Spaceship Records:

Founded by Burna Boy in 2015, Spaceship Records has been a beacon of creativity and innovation in the Nigerian music scene. Home to artists like Nissi and Burna Boy himself, Spaceship Records has carved a niche for itself with its unique sound and artistic vision.

7. Starboy Records:

Established by Wizkid in 2013, Starboy Records has been a driving force in the Nigerian music industry. Managed by Jada P, Starboy Entertainment has been nominated for numerous awards, showcasing its impact and influence in the industry.

From groundbreaking investments to nurturing emerging talent, these record labels continue to shape the Nigerian music industry and elevate African music on the global stage. With their unwavering dedication and visionary leadership, they are poised to leave an indelible mark for years to come.

8. Native Records

NATIVE Records, born from the esteemed Nigerian music magazine The Native in 2022, emerges as a beacon of representation and empowerment within the African music industry. As a division of The Native Networks, it stands as the dedicated music arm, committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented African artists. Led by co-presidents Seni Saraki, Teezee (Teni Zaccheaus), and Sholz (Sholz Fagbemi), NATIVE Records embarks on a mission to champion diversity and inclusivity in music.

In a landmark move on 20 September 2022, NATIVE Records forged a transformative joint venture partnership with multinational label Def Jam. This strategic alliance serves as a testament to the label’s unwavering commitment to nurturing talents across Africa and its diaspora, marking a pivotal moment in its journey towards global impact and recognition.

At its core, NATIVE Records serves as a nurturing home for artists, including Teezee, Sholz, and Odumodublvck, offering them a platform to showcase their unique voices and talents. Their groundbreaking album, Native World, released on 18 August 2022, serves as a testament to the label’s dedication to pushing boundaries and shaping the musical landscape.

Through its innovative initiatives and steadfast dedication to showcasing new sounds, NATIVE Records continues to break barriers and influence the evolution of the Afropop movement. With a legacy of boundary-pushing creativity and a commitment to uplifting underrepresented voices, NATIVE Records stands as a driving force in shaping the future of African music.

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