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Nigerian Record Label Constantly Cheat Artistes; Here is How They are Doing It

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In the Nigerian music industry its not uncommon find artistes who are signed to popular labels but are still broke and barely able to pay rent. This article is about how Nigerian record labels cheat artistes.

Some artistes have had hits in the past but they still have nothing to show for years of hard work. So what is the problem; you should know that one mega hit is all you need to be set for life provided you exhaust its potential.

The record labels know this, many artistes are being cheated daily with opportunistic deals. Labels rely on you to make money but you should get a fair share of the revenue from your sales.

A lot of upcoming rappers make get pressured into signing up any contract that comes around without seeking clarifications on the details. They do not care to check either, the money don show abi.

After all you can now finally brag in the wealth and drive that Jeep you’ve been dreaming of. But that’s an illusion, you don’t get free things from a record label. They will recoup double or triple the value of any thing a they give.

READ: 5 mistakes upcoming rappers make in 2017

So when you’re getting that new car and 3 bedroom apartment in Lekki, have it at the back of your mind that you might not be getting any thing substantial from your work until the contract term expires. When its expired, you can ask for a more profitable deal, that’s if your name is still hot in the market.


We all know what happened to Oluwadamilare Okulaja aka Durella the “king of the zanga” crooner. He was living up a fast life off his record labels funds, but the money was never his.

Capitol city, His label were always going to make back their money. So they kept feeding him change while he made hits until he outlived his usefulness.

When his rent expired he was kicked out because he couldn’t pay. The glamour lifestyle he sang about wasn’t real for him after all.

Frankly you are better off without an exploitative contract. Eva Alordia left Trybesmen barely a week after signing up with the outfit. Her management released a statement later; she didn’t like the hidden clauses in her contract. She has remained independent ever since.

So when you discover that you’ve been scammed, take a step back and think about it. You probably fell because you were too ignorant or too hungry. Remember that as a Nigerian artiste the lifespan of your relevance could be really short. You shouldn’t spend all your productive years as a someone’s milking cow.

You can get exploited from sales of your music. A lot of Nigerian artistes now prefer to sell their albums themselves with the help of independent marketers and distributors. Selling music directly to your fans online has been the best way for artistes to actually reap.

You can also get cheated out of revenue from representation and events. Its not right for you to get mere coins after selling out a VIP show with a thousand people in attendance. “Cheat” is a strong word but I chose to use it because you are not getting what you deserve.

Below is a percentage sharing analysis of the royalties from the sales of you music:

Hard CD sales

READ: Selling your hard copy mixtape for upcoming rappers

There are a lot of players involved in manufacturing and selling of CDs, this is just an average of what the sharing formula looks like:

Artist (6.6%)
Producer (2.2%)
Songwriters (4.5%)
Distributor (22%)
Manufacturing (5%)
Retailer (30%)
Record label (30%)

As you can see the artiste gets 6.6% and if he is also the song writer he could get (6.6 + 4.4) which is 11%. So if our album is N100, you’re getting N11 max.

Do not believe all the plenty money music you see on TV. Most of the flashy things you see on videos are actually borrowed on credit.

Only a few artistes like Psquare have been able to amassĀ  a reasonable amount of wealth and that’s because they own the the label.

Label digital sales

Selling a song or a mixtape/album online is a lot more direct. Although this doesn’t mean that the artistes makes more money. The sharing is done within a smaller amount of people.

The store like iTunes or Amazon can take up to 30% for the hosting and distribution. While your representative label claims the remaining 70% for production and manufacturing.
From this 70% you could get a payout of about 12%. That is 12% of 70% which is really just 8% of the music sale.

This is not an exact figure because what you get is stated in the contract. Before putting your signature on any contract, endeavor to seek the guidance of a seasoned manage or an entertainment lawyer. They understand the fine print better than you do. Don’t get cheated off your own creative work.

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OG Adoga
I am a Rap Music Instructor, Hip Hop Culture Custodian, Promotion Expert, all round smooth operator and chief editor at Hip Hop Head. Call me on 09050391411 (No free jobs) ______________________________________________________________________________ To join our Whatsapp group copy and paste the link below in your browser (Lovers of Hip Hop only)

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