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Are Record Labels Still A Necessity In Today’s Music Industry?

Posted by Temitope Delano on June 3, 2016 in Editorial · 15 Comments


With more and more new acts trooping with some barging their way into the music industry on a daily basis and the established one currently roped in legal battles with their erstwhile labels, it was about time for this question to be asked.

There is no denying the fact that record labels provide artistes with a security blanket that can not be belittled or pushed aside. They ensure the distribution, promotion, studio session, shooting of videos with sometimes the best of the best in that area and so on and so forth. However, when you delve deeper into the belly of these deals, it only becomes clearer that after scrimping and making sure you are heard in what could only be termed as a whisper, finally giving rise to a forced single (on the artiste’s part) and maybe 2 minutes video where you are pushed around by the director who feels he is doing you a favor, you realize, your bank account still has the same three zeros just perfect to make a mickey mouse head. Truth be told, everyone is in it to gain financial freedom and security.

Yes, the world has changed and is still changing and God bless the day internet was born and social media followed. Social media has provided thousands of struggling  artistes the avenue to have their songs out there. For one, am certain, top music websites celebrates emerging artistes who trend on social media. Now tell me, if your song is trending on social media and secures a spot on such list, isn’t that just about the move in the right direction?

Of course, Labels can be cruel sometimes and I dare say its due to their failure to look at the future of and for that one out of five artistes they signed on. But can they be shoved aside in this day and age? No, I feel Labels are still a huge necessity in today’s music business.

Let’s face it, starting off as a newly signed artistes, a lot of things need to be put in place for you to make it in the ever competitive world of music. And these things can be placed in your laps on a platter of gold, silver or whatever it is that catches your fancy. Record labels, have years of industry relationship,you as a newbie do not. They have the magic wand and of course a place called an office or ‘Empire’ where a team of hands on magicians reside paid just to ensure that your name and song is on the lips of everyone in and around the globe.

Some determined artistes, have circumvented the now usual route of music distribution by making use of the social media platforms made available to everyone around the world, this note worthy discovery  and their will to thrive and remain atop, earned some of them popularity on these platforms. But,will social media book that tour for you? Will you new title as the ‘Social media breakout star’ get you interviews in top publications in town? Will it have your songs playing repeatedly on radio stations that charge more than you have ever seen in your lifetime as an artiste? Will social media get you the stellar team which comprises of the best producer, PR, Video director and marketer in town or will it produce your EPK? (Electronic Press Kit). This said, its safe to say new artistes need the backings of a record label to push hem to the height they hope to attain.

Record labels, have very little patience in actually seeing the long term potential in some of their artistes, due to the fact that so much money is being pumped into creating a brand for them, they are after the instant profit they can get from such artiste thereby shoving aside any artiste who does not live up to that assumed promise, breaking the heart and every other thing that can be broken in the soul of such an act, who in so many cases turn out to be the ‘not so easily discarded piece of trash” (as it is assumed) springing up legal battles and hot words easily exchanged on the same social media meant to propel you to further stardom.

Do I think new artistes needs a record label? Yes. Are they a necessity? No. You finally get the lifetime chance of meeting the top executive of a big label and he or she wants to sign you on, congratulations kid. However, please make certain your deal does not surpass a year, two at most.

Record label owners are business men and their ability and need to see the long term benefit in most of them might just knock their socks off in the long run.


What do you guys think, are record labels still a necessity in today’s music industry? Let discuss guys.

Written by: Tope Delano

@Tope _Delano










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Tope Delano, is a creative content writer/editor at She is a graduate of English and Literary studies who enjoys writing and listening to music. When she is not writing or listening to music, you will definitely find her reading or watching a romantic comedy movie
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12 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Beautiful piece…you could not have written this better. Its about time people stop seeing labels as the devils in the business due to dier favourite artistes being bitch slapped around like you rightly said. Love this!

  2. Nice piece, when u dream z of buying houz n lekki nd no plan 2 achieve such success. patience z always d key to anytin nd artiste should beware of all dis quick rich labels o

  3. Great piece, honestly and no matter how hard it is for artist they should always have a second thought at the back of their minds before signing a record deal.

  4. it’s a very tricky situation. if as an artiste you have studied about the music industry from how to promote your music (DIY), marketing, branding, down to even understanding how contracts with whoever u want to get involved in your team works, u have confidence that going into the music industry you will know how to manage your brand almost single handedly (it’s like going prepared for an exam).

    Most artiste in Nigeria need proper enlightenment of this music business, because they don’t see it as a business and they don’t understand that like every business, there is a plan and if you dont plan, you fail.

    But i do think that at an early stage and artiste can work indie till he gets recognised by a record label leading to what i call a partnership where the label offers some kind of support to the artiste majorly in terms of high cost expenditures, this artiste still gets to keep his initial start up label in conjuction with the made one (depending on the deal agreed).

    My own little contributon.

  5. I just believe that if every record lable can atleast work like that movi EMPIRE then I believe no artiste gat the right too complain if he or she is not doing well,record lable is really a KEY.. Alicia even confirmed that!

  6. Record labels are necessary, especially if u don’t have the necessary funds to push urself.
    I rili don’t blame the record labels, signing on an artiste is quite risky. you invest in an act and s/he ends up messing up. Take d case of wizkid and skales being signed to EME..wiz was making money for EME while skales was just there, making little money tho. Again, Lil Kesh and Viktoh with YBNL Nation is similar to wiz’ and skales’.
    Kennis music suffered a great deal of betrayal in d past so I wouldn’t blame them if they milked their acts. The artistes need to understand and digest their contracts, u don’t rush to sign a contract cos of the sign-on fee, car and house..I was surprised Skales signed a 30% revenue contract for himself. Well, he ought to have forseen it, he had a contract worth almost N200m. released his debut album without a record label and it was successful, thanks to Stanley Otovoh. Timaya too was without a record label when he debuted.

  7. With the explosive growth of social media, it’s safe to say that any talented act has a shot at getting known but truth is, they cannot keep up such awareness. This is the part where labels come in to save the day- which is a competitive edge for any newbie over peers. However, most rookies over look the legal aspect for the luxury. Music today can be likened to other commodity and if an artiste can be sensitized on how the business operates, maybe all these media brawls between both parties can be averted. @ pest, has a point – we need more of those independent acts that would put out their stuff without label support. I appreciate @BRYMO @BLACKMAGIC. – GOOD MUSIC ALL THE WAY.

  8. wow

  9. It’s complicated tho but Patience is fully required. Hope for the best pray against the worst… @hazzyjo

    • God bless you.

  10. hmmmmm…ask ur dad

  11. ok

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