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How To Start A Record Label In Nigeria From Scratch With No Cash

The Nigerian music industry is growing bigger every year. To start record label Nigeria requires independent research, team management skills, dedicated planning and program implementation. I will break those concepts down as this article goes further.

There are more players coming into the Nigerian music industry per time. There are also more fans with a higher propensity to spend. What a record label does is to connect the buying fans to a product (artiste).

Music industry supply chain

Look at it this way; a record label performs about exactly the same functions as Dangote Flour Mills.

Dangote goes to the farms and sources for raw wheat. They process and package it, and distribute it to retailers via registered wholesalers. Retailers bring it to you and you’re satisfied. You’re not concerned with the process, you just want to eat wheat and you’re ready to pay for it. Dangote doesn’t own farms, yet they made it possible for you.

This is what a record label does. They inspire the demand for an artiste and conduct the supply of musical products to fans for consume.

Demand is a vital part of any supply chain. Most times the fans do not know exactly what they want, you have show it to them. This is the general idea behind brand advertisements.

A fan needs to have fun but he don’t know how. A record company creates artistes to entertain him. The record company sources for funds and promotes the artiste so that the bored fan can see. The label will spend money on the artiste to make him look good. They get him on radio and TV just to give him a personality and a perceived lifestyle.

Fans don’t buy music, they buy artistes. Labels wouldn’t have cared about the welfare of their artistes if this want the case. Fans care more about the artiste than his music. This guides the supply aspect.

The fan requests for the artiste and his musical product. The label puts a price tag on him and sell him accordingly. The label makes profit from the sales of artistes music. Record labels also profit from artistes names and personality when he gets a brand endorsement. So before you start a record label in Nigeria, here are the steps you must take;


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1. Raise funds

You need money to run a label. 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. Your label wouldn’t be making money instantly so it needs to run on some cash till the business reaches break even point.

2. A plan

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, it will guide your actions and goals.

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 label label, you really do not have a company. The following positions need to be occupied by experienced personnel.

a. Legal affairs: Legal will handle the creation and dissolution of all binding documents. They 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. PR/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.

c. 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 distribution (marketing). 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

d. Sound engineers
e. HR team
f. Sales team

READ: How Nigerian record labels are ripping you off

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. 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.

c. 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.

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. This I’d where your engineers come to the fore.

6. Signing an artiste

READ: 6 Nigerian record labels that became trash

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.

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.

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 billboards etc.

8. Distributing your artiste

This is a vital aspect of the supply chain I talked about earlier. Your artistic product is not available and people know 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.

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

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

These are just the basics, to know more you can contact an entertainment lawyer. Help share this post or drop a comment.

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)

13 thoughts on “How To Start A Record Label In Nigeria From Scratch With No Cash

  1. I really hope this will help, I’m Luke, planning to launch my label on year 2020. Thanks for your advice blogger I’ll let you know if I’m fully Set, maybe there are still advices I can buy.

  2. yea so interesting, I’m Mr.benard I’m from eastern state of NIGERIA Enugu, I was a formal nollywood producer as of 2001, but I now base in united kingdom, like how much will it cost me to be a popular record label owner

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