The mistake Naira marley and Zlatan Ibile made by starting record labels


The Nigerian music industry has grown from what it used to be several years ago. Back then the major platform for distributing your music through Alaba distributors who made themselves into the Alpha and omega. When powerful record labels like KENNIS RECORDS and STORM RECORDS took over the scene and continued the partnership with Alaba marketers. There was high level of piracy and these record labels seem to have all the power not until Mo’hits records started in 2006 and this broke up powers of the record labels and we finally got to see an independent record labels do well in Nigeria. This further increased the impetus for other musicians alike to venture into the business side of the industry and eventually start record label and this trend continued. Even though, these privately owned independent labels brought more good than harm, the harm is usually to the person that established the labels. We saw this when Banky W started Empire mates entertainment, his career suffered while he brought one of the best gifts to African pop music, Wizkid , he still felt the brunt. When Jude Abaga A.K.A M.I took over the reigns of Chocolate city Music, his career paid the price.

Don Jazzy stopped being a very active artist and producer when he took over Mavin records. I could continue to go on, the fact remains that combining making music and the business side of the industry is very hard to combine.

Why do that? What’s the rush? Don’t you want to milk and stretch the income you can get from starting record labels? I understand that you might be seeing it as giving back to the system and helping other acts to get higher but the timing is just wrong.

Let me explain why I think it’s a great mistake:

No structure: The both of them obviously have no structure for the record labels they started. A record label is different from throwing around money to support the upcoming artist. It has to do with setting some certain infrastructure, hiring staff, investors, distribution channel and marketing plan. All of these which look like something they do not have yet. This lack of structure can possibly spell doom for Naira Marley and Zlatan Ibile but apart from these artistes; the new artistes which they signed will suffer because their progress will be stalled. The artistes signed by both of them showed that it was done out of sentiments not because they had qualified A&R’s making the decision for them.

Not yet time: It is not yet time for the two of them to venture into this; they should have taken a cue from the likes of Olamide who waited until they were not longer just seen as sensations in the eyes of the fans before venturing into it. Their main concern at this stage of their careers should be how to become richer, make more music, exploit business opportunities, take their music abroad and not starting a record label. Even though it seems as a good decision because of their current influence but if you look at it critically, the timing is just wrong.

These reasons are more than enough to show that venturing into this, will ultimately do more harm than good to both of them but eventually time will tell.