Kiss Daniel leaving G-Worldwide is just a reflection of a wider problem for Nigerian record labels.
Kiss Daniel is a free man now. After spending 4 years at G-Worldwide Entertainment and established himself as a top act in Nigeria, the singer has left the label. In its place, he has launched a new record label, Fly Boi Inc.
On social media, there’s an air of celebration about it. People believe that Kiss Daniel was being held back by the policies within his label that insulated him from the industry. Since he broke out in 2015, the singer has not had a collaboration with any artist that isn’t signed to G-Worldwide. ‘Woju’ remix was a necessity that benefited his brand greatly. At some point, Wizkid showed advances for a joint record, but nothing came out of it.
This no-collaboration policy has had its fair share of critics, with many commenters on social media describing the move as ‘irrational’. Collaboration has its uses. It is one of the foundations of the music industry, where artists explore the potential of their powers by collaborating with other artists for gain.
Kiss Daniel didn’t have that. And while everyone searched for a reason, his label boss, Festus Ehimare also known as Emperor Geezy, explained that it is a business decision to benefit his company and his signed artists.
“We understand that this is a risky move but remain convinced that if this can be achieved, we will be able to take credit for having set the pace in the Nigerian music industry,” Geezy said in a statement. “Granted that collaborations in the industry bring colour and variety to the end product, but our approach at this time is to grow stronger and richer in value as a unit.”
Geezy failed to put into consideration, the desires of the artist. This was an arrogant approach to making music, that defies all standards and best practices. Kiss Daniel wants to collaborate with his idols. He needs to grow.
But that’s just simplifying the problem. The real issue here is the inability of record labels to understand how to renegotiate contract deals with artists as they grow. We have seen this situation happen with Wizkid and his exit from Banky W’s EME. Nigerian labels are inflexible with contracts, failing to take into consideration that the clauses that made up an initial contract would have to be amended to fit in. In club football, this is the norm. As players become bigger, and the value that they bring grows, the clubs renegotiate better deals to reflect that.
At G-Worldwide, Kiss Daniel was the cash cow. His label-mate, Sugarboy had a great song with ‘Hola Hola’, but he hasn’t done enough to hit the heights and levels that Kiss Daniel effortlessly climbs. The record label relies on Kiss Daniel for a lot, and a renegotiation would have been the right thing to do.
But that didn’t happen, and they have lost. G-Worldwide, without the talent and celebrity of Kiss Daniel, look a little light. They are stuck with Sugarboy, an artist with a lot to prove and a flopped debut album. They either redirect their resources to him, or they find another talent, and repeat the process of breaking an artist through.
This lesson needed to have been learned. Structures rise and fall, empires grow, hit the zenith and crumble, artists come and go, and affiliations change constantly. But some things could have been avoided. Nigerian record labels need to fix this. They have to update their business practices and explore flexible ways to improve their businesses.
Kiss Daniel grew bigger than G-Worldwide, but the record label refused to acknowledge that. They didn’t take the necessary steps to keep the artist and improve his situation. That’s why he left, and that’s why a lot of Nigerian artists would leave.