How to start a music record label in nigeria(2019)


1. Raising of funds

You need money to run a label just like getting a capital to invest in a business, Its no child’s play, all the people you’re hiring are going to be paid. You’ll need to promote your artiste and buy one or two things to put the artistes in a well good looking manner. Your label wouldn’t be making money instantly so it needs to run on some cash till the business reaches the profitable points.

2. Setting a plan

Setting a  business plan is very important if you’re going to have a well defined structure. You need to know the kind of label you want to run. Some labels only handle distribution, others only handle recording and some do all. A business plan is simply an idea laid out in a written form,or a schedule structure that will guide your actions and goals in setting up your record label.

3. Assembling your team

Your new small record label in Nigeria can start with you as the potential CEO. Its “potential” because you do not officially occupy that position until your company is registered as a legal entity. I’ll talk more about that below. The CEO will take care of running the business. You as a CEO can also double as an artiste manager.

A new record label in Nigeria also needs at least an artiste and a publicist, who is usually a blogger. But if you decide to go really serious you must consolidate;

Without key figures in your record label, you really do not have a company. The following positions need to be occupied by experienced personnel.

a. Legal affairs: A legal officer will handle the creation and dissolution of all binding documents. he will explain the meaning of terms, tell you the implications of your actions and help you design your contracts for you. They are your representation and will respond to any law suit or infringement.

b. A manager: The manager is the labels closest link with the artiste. He makes sure the artiste complies with the labels ideology and often takes the responsibility of sales and distributions . There can be other managerial positions like the business officer who handles bookkeeping, payroll and finance records.

You also need these, I’ve explained their functions

CPR/Publicity: They take care of your image building and public welfare of all team members. They will create trends for you, and make sure stories about you reach Linda Ikeji. They manage your media profiles and also help you write replies. This team packages you against potentially disastrous career statements. PR hear things in and out if the industry, they are your amebo people.

d. Sales team

e.Sound engineers

f.HR team

4. Registration with corporate affairs commission (CAC)

A serious record label in Nigeria has to be registered with the corporate affairs commission. There is a branch in every state. You can find them at your States Secretariat. This is where your legal teams come into the picture. Your record label needs to be registered because.

Registering a record label can cost anything from N100, 000 to N200, 000.

a. Your contracts are null and void if you are not recognized as a legal entity. It means your artistes can just leave and you can’t arrest them.

b. Registration of your record label name as a trademark allows you to put the label logo on music records or sponsored events. It also stops anyone from using it.

c. People can steal your artistes songs and publish it without tour permission and the court of law will not listen to you because you are not regarded as a Nigerian company.

5. Launching a recording studio

You need to have a fully functional sound studio In order so save cost. If you are outsourcing your artistes recordings to other studios, you will spend more. For this you need to sign or hire a producer.

6. Signing an artiste

HR comes into play I’m this area. You need to be have artistes if you’re going to run a label. The HR should have a good musical ear. They will search for the artiste  according to the specs in your policy. Some companies want Rap artistes some want those who do other genres like rnb or reggae and blues.

7. Creating hype for your artiste

Now you have an artiste and a product. You need people to know about it. Your publicist is responsible for lobbying for interviews and getting people to talk about you on social media(instagram,facebook,twitter.e.t.c)..

This is the process of creating demand. They get your labels products into radio and TV shows. They will create flyers and posters, advertise on billboarids etc.

8. Distributing your artiste

This is a vital aspect of the distributing chain. Your artistic product is not available and people know nothing about it. You now need to organize a way to sell it.

Your sales team is in charge of this phase. You stand a risk of running at a loss if you are unable to market your music correctly. Most CEOs are usually part of their sales teams. You will ensure the supply of product to the direction of the demand for supply.

Example: You can study your artistes fan base and decide how to best sell their music. Some artistes sell better online than at any musical market.

You can also create awareness your artistes locally by lobbying them into shows and appearances, even if means getting into a partnership.

Getting a record label deal is the ultimate dream of an upcoming Nigerian rapper or singer. People believe that getting a contract is hard but I have made it easy here.

Most people believe that getting just any contract is the end of all suffering but it isn’t necessarily so. This post aims at demystifying these terms. So you can know what it really means to get signed.

According to wikipedia “A record label is a publishing company that manages brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution , marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos”

READ: How to start your own record label from scratch

Record labels see you as an investment opportunity and seek to sell your brand to make profit.

They will spend time preparing your story and creating a hype around you, they will spend money grooming you to ensure you look like everything they said you were.

The amount of attention you get depends on the kind of contract you get, all artistes don’t get the same deals. Below I listed the popular types of contracts and what they entail.

Marketing/Promotion deal

If a label offers you this contract, it means they are willing to use their resources to promote your brand thereby increasing your natural audience. They will seek to introduce you to a wider audience which will grow your fan base in turn.

The contract may require you to relinquish some control over your representation and public image, because they might have to hire a manager and a PR agent for you to carry out their marketing vision. This means they might be in charge of your social media profiles.

You will become more visible because more blogs will carry your story, your management will get more leads so you will perform at more shows and eventually become attractive for brand endorsements.

You will be required to share your earnings with the label via a percentage distribution to cover for the resources spent on getting you that far.

Distribution deals

Distribution deals are offered to semi established artistes who already have a vibrant market presence but needs wider reach. This will allow such an artists to sell more, get more shows and and eventually make money for the label via percentage sharing.

Distribution has come a long way, these days independent artistes are now taking it up themselves by using tools available on social.

Wholesome Recording/Copyright contracts

This kind of contract are mostly provided to artistes who start from scratch. The label will take care of all your creative expenses on the grounds that you allow them influence your artistic expression.

They may own your songs and your voice for the duration of the contract term. In plain English, they own you for the time being. Nigerian record labels hardly offer them because frankly no label is interested in building up an artiste from scratch.

Contract agreement

This contract is dangerous because you may not be able to perform your own songs even after the term, without sharing a percentage of money with the former label as royalties.

Soul E had a battle with his former label, colossal records in 2007.

The label  claimed they own the name “Soul E” and that he couldn’t use it anymore after the contract was breached. He was ordered to pay N160 Million naira by a Lagos federal high court according to Linda Ikeji.

Upcoming artistes are misinformed and that’s why they find it hard to get signed record label deal Nigeria. Make labels fight for you with these 3 steps

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