Can a Major label like Sony hold back a Nigerian artist?


“Major labels approaching you and claiming to help you grow? Be very very careful. They tried to ruin my career, but we had a PLAN B

These are the words of Ycee, who is embittered about his stint with a major label. The only company that Ycee has dealt with, which fits that description is Sony Music. The company signed a deal with the singer in October 2016, to release, distribute and amplify his debut EP, “The First Wave.” Not much is known about what has become of the deal, but in that time, Ycee has complained about the practices of the record label.

In August 2017, Ycee had accused the Michael Ugwu, the General Manager of Sony Music West Africa, of illegal practices and stealing from artists via Twitter.
Michael Ugwu, General Manager, Sony Music West Africa, Arokodare ‘Tinny’ Timilehin, CEO Tinny Entertainment, and Ycee

This is recent tweet is coming after Sony Music released a press release to VibeNG, stating that they are ‘prioritizing’ the singer’s record ‘Juice’, with the intention of making it the biggest ‘African international hit’ of 2017. According to a story on the platform, the record has been escalated as a priority through Sony Music France, Columbia Records UK and Ultra Music North America.”
Interestingly, no other major platform got that release, and Ycee has refused to acknowledge it.
Michael Ugwu also granted an interview to the media house, stating that: “The nature of the major label business is one of patience as pulling off campaigns that involve multiple territories is never an easy task. We at Sony Music West Africa have always believed in the talent that is Ycee and we hope for more wins for this talented young artiste as he learns the ropes of the global music business.”

False????? You sat on my EP for months without doing anything.

My sweat, my life and all I've got.

Thank God my label had a plan B. 

This isn’t the first time Sony has been called out. After announcing a deal with Davido a deal in 2016, the Nigerian singer has always been vocal about the creative direction of the major label, and how they have attempted to interfere with his sound. His original deal was renegotiated, leaving Davido with the freedom of starting records in Nigeria. His project “Son Of Mercy”, which was released as part of that deal, was critically bashed in Nigeria.
On the flipside, Wizkid continues to bask in the glow of his Sony deal. The singer released a project “Sounds From The Other Side,” via RCA Records in the US.
Wizkid and executives of RCA Records

The stories of Ycee and Davido are a contrast to Wizkid’s, but they reveal another aspect of signing with a major label. Ycee and Davido haven’t given the most glowing reviews about their association with Sony Music, and it has gotten us thinking. Can major labels hold back a Nigerian artist? Can a huge music company, with connections across the globe, and in numerous markets work against an artist they signed up to a contract?
There are always pros and cons to signing a major label deal. The good sides are always highlighted and sold to, but there are bad aspects of it, and numerous artists do not know.

The attraction of major labels includes access to funding for new projects. They also do have connections and can open a lot of doors for you. Wizkid toured major media platforms in the UK and US, including non-traditional broadcasters of African music. That’s a major label move. They can also get you the biggest deals of advertising, and amplify anything and everything an artist does.
Davido signing his mega deal with SOny Music in 2016.


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