Why Nigerian Artistes Dump Their Record Labels

Onyeka Ibeanusi  | Thursday, 24 April 2014 | 1291 Total Views


So many have described Nigerian record labels as just business names. Some musical artistes at some point in the past said there are only 3 or more record labels in the country.

The Nigerian entertainment terrain is very different from what exists in country's like the United States Of America, The United Kingdom and many other parts of the world. Some have described the industry as one without a structure despite the success in recent times.

Nigerian Musicians in recent times have embarked on a mass exit from their record labels. We have recorded scores of break ups in the industry this year alone. 

Many have wondered what the cause of these frequent record label exits could be and why it is only in Nigeria that the rate is this high. A number of factors are responsible for this anomaly.


In America and many other parts of the world, an artiste is asked to provide an entertainment lawyer who will interprete the contract, terms and conditions of the record label before they are signed. The Nigerian situation is different, most of the record label contracts are oral without legal back ups which is the main reason why artistes leave record labels at any time without fear.


Many record labels do not keep their side of the bargain. Before signing an artiste, they make promises and raise the hopes of the artiste who want to conquer the world but after the contract, the labels shy away from their responsibilities leaving behind a dissatisfied artiste.


When artistes are relatively unknown, record labels are likely to sign them with a view to exploiting their talents. By the time the artistes become very big, they start seeing themselves like slaves under a slave driven label. They find a way to negotiate better contracts which most of the labels are not willing to do, hence the exit from the label.


Most of the record labels in Nigeria are structured to suit the lifestyle of the owners and artistes are signed not for profit making reasons, but to boost the ego of the owner. Such a system is bound to collapse because of the conflict of interests.


This is very important and should be spelt out clearly from the start with room for amendments in the future. Sometimes in desperation, artistes settle for very small percentage of the entire financial profit made from record sales but with time and visible progress, they will want an amendment and a proper financial audit of how much they make and how much is spent on promotions and branding. Most record labels wouldn't want a change and will want to stick to the initial percentage format which will not go down well with the artiste.


This goes either ways. An artiste can become greedy, comparing his or herself with artistes signed to other record labels and making demands that are beyond the resources of their label while record labels could become greedy and over work the artiste without thinking of their well being and personal development.