In the music business, the spotlight is generally exclusively reserved for the artistes. For these artistes, the fame and success comes with the music. It is part of the job and those good at their jobs will enjoy the largesse of the spotlight that comes with a job well done. It’s common knowledge that doing a good job in the music business takes more than just a talented artistes with marketable potential.
Like a sports team, the success of the team depends on the abilities of the players as much as it does on the ownership, management, and backroom staff. Without an ambitious and present ownership whose job it’s to put the team in the hands of competent individuals who can make the right decisions on and off the field, there’s just so little so much the talents that congregates the locker room can achieve.
In music, labels have an army of professionals working round the clock to make the best decisions that will bring the greatest benefits for the artiste and the label. There are companies who build products, services, and an enabling environment to ensure that music gets to the consumers and artistes optimizes their talents. These individuals working behind the scene to take a talent from the studio to the streets are the force that propels the industry. These individuals enjoy a tiny fraction of the spotlight and they are not entirely popular figures, some of them are widely known and respected for their achievements in the music business.
In the Nigerian music industry, there are influential individuals who sit at the head of the table in board rooms and who play key roles in shaping all aspects of the music industry as we know it. These individuals are worthy of mention especially after what is an unprecedented year for Nigerian music. TurnTable Charts have complied a list of 2021 Top 30 most influential individuals serving in various capacities in the Nigerian music industry. TurnTable Power List recognizes industry power players selected based on their roles in Nigerian music; the 2021 list cuts across executives in music distribution, management, music law, founders of music communities, head of labels and more.
1. Bolaji Kareem: EMPIRE, YBNL Nation
Leading the list and the No. 1 executive of 2021 is Bolaji Kareem. He heads the operation of EMPIRE in Nigeria, one of the biggest independent distribution company in the world while simultaneously leading the operations of YBNL Nation. With EMPIRE having the biggest share of all music distributor in Nigeria this year, including three of the top ten songs of 2021; the leadership of Bolaji Kareem has definitely made the company the most attractive for artiste this year.
Additionally, YBNL Nation reigns as the No. 1 record label in Nigeria in terms of market share following another great year that included having two of the top ten songs.
2. Oluwaseun "Banko" Lloyd: General Manager, Sony Music West Africa
Under the leadership of Banko Lloyd, Sony Music West Africa has gone from relative obscurity to one of the leading labels in Nigeria. 2021 is a standout year for the label whose artistes recorded high flying chart success both locally and internationally. Sony Music West Africa houses the biggest names in Nigerian and African music and at the same time, they have an array of fast rising stars that positions them for continuous domination.
3. Peter Tega Oghenejobo: Chief Operating Officer at Mavin Global
Mavin Global is pacesetter in the Nigerian music industry and leading the reputable company into the future is Tega Oghenejobo under whose visionary leadership the company has continued to stay a step ahead. Home to the explosive talents of Rema and Ayra Starr, that label has displayed unrivalled ability at star discovery and management.
With “Feeling,” Nigeria’s Song of the summer and Song of the Year worthy single, Mavin has continued to prove that it’s a pacesetter in the business end of the industry. Mavin Records ended the year as No. 2 record label in 2021.
4. Asa Asika: co-Founder of The Plug
Asides being the co-founder of one of Nigeria’s leading Distribution Company, Asa Asika is also Davido’s manager. With The Plug, Asa has been able to build a legacy founded on developing talents and building potentials in a manner that will guarantee upward mobility. The company finished the year as the No. 1 Nigerian-founded music distributor and No. 5 overall in 2021.
As Davido’s manager, Asa has continued to lead in talent manager, interpersonal relationship, and contemporary management in a manner that makes Davido as a dynamic and international figure.
5. Bizzle Osikoya: co-Founder of The Plug
One of the most respected names in Nigerian music, Bizzle has an unrivalled ability to understand an artiste as much as he understands the sound. As co-founder of plug, Bizzle has forged a legacy in talent management that cuts across music, sports, entertainment, and art. The Plug manages CKay the crooner of “Love Nwatintin” which is 2021 NO.1 global viral hit. Bizzle personal touch to talent management ranks him high as an influential figure in Nigerian music.
6. Don Jazzy: Founder/President of Mavin Records
Don Jazzy can be regarded as a Godfather in Nigerian music. His role in the evolution of Nigerian music since the 2000s can’t be overemphasized. A philanthropist whose opinion is greatly sought in the industry, Don Jazzy continues to serve as the president of Mavin Records. He has successfully partnered with global brands to position the label for the future domination.
7. Osagie Osarenkhoe: Country Manager, Nigeria at ONErpm
Under Osagie’s leadership, OneRPM has emerged as a top choice for both established and emerging artists in Nigeria for the distribution of their music. ONErpm’s top act for the year, Bella Shmurda ended the year with top song on Triller. The company also distributed hit songs such as “Cash App,” “Big Thug Boys,” and “Hallelu”
8. Bose Ogulu: Manager & co-Founder of Spaceship Collective
As the Manager of Spaceship Collective, Bose Ogulu has achieved stellar success with Burna Boy. She was co-executive producer of Grammy winning album “Twice as Tall” and Burna Boy’s artistic evolution has been under her watchful eyes and guidance. Bose Ogulu oversees Spaceship Collective which is the holding company for Spaceship Records and Spaceship Publishing.
9. Osita Ugeh: Founder of Duke Concepts
Duke Concepts has been leading the charge for touring for over a decade but in 2021, the company established itself as the No. 1 company for providing Nigerian artists with touring services. The company helped the three biggest acts in Nigerian music take their music to the world stage and give audience around the world with live Afrobeat experience. The company managed Burna Boy’s Hollywood Bowl and Wizkid’s hugely successful Made In Lagos Tour.
10. Temi Adeniji: MD, Warner Music SA
Temi Adeniji was appointed the Managing Director of Warner Music SA and SVP, Strategy of Sub-Saharan Africa. Adeniji has played a key role in developing Warner’s presence in this region by negotiating landmark deals with local music platforms such as Audiomack and Boomplay as well as a partnership with Chocolate City. In October, Ckay’s “Love Nwantiti (Remix)” became the first African song to top the Global YouTube Chart on its way to topping several national charts as well as amassing over 5 billion views on Tik Tok. This isn't her first rodeo with international commercial songs. She was key in bringing together Master KG's "Jerusalema" remix with Burna Boy.
11. Charles Enebeli (D’Prince); Founder, Jonzing World
D’Prince is the founder of Jonzing World which is one of the best talent management agency around. In 2021, Jonzing world managed Ruger in a manner that consolidated on his earlier success and made him into a star. D’Prince has an eye for spotting talent and for positioning them on the right path which has made him a respected and influential individual in the Nigerian music industry.
12. Ikenna Nwagboso: Head of Label Services, emPawa
Ikenna Nwagboso’s work as head of label services has seen emPawa work with artistes such as Joeboy, Minz, Fave, Namenj and others. emPawa became the first publisher to have the top two songs in Nigeria on the TurnTable Top 50 in a week with “Alcohol” and “Baby Riddim” holding the top two spots. Interestingly, the later succeeded the former as the number one song in Nigeria.
13. Dele Kadiri: General Manager, Boomplay Nigeria
Boomplay is setting the pace in building a digital streaming platform that will serve the peculiarities of the Nigerian market. Boomplay has played an active role in reducing music piracy and bringing music to everyday Nigerians at almost no cost. Dele Kadiri’s efforts have seen BoomPlay grow in popularity and users in 2021.
14. Cecil Hammond: CEO, Flytime Group
Flytime has emerged as one of the leading music festival and entertainment company, owners of Rhythm Unplugged & Flytime Music Festival. In 2021, Flytime Music Festival had headline acts such as Davido and Wizkid.
15. Damilola Akinwunmi: Founder of Dapper
Dapper Music ended the year as No. 2 Nigerian-founded music distributor in 2021 – and No. 7 overall in the country. The company’s leading song of 2021 is Rexxie & MohBad’s “KPK (Ko Por Ke)” which ended in the Top 20 Songs of the Year.
16. Godwin Tom; Music Business Academy (MBA)
Godwin Tom’s revolutionary Music Business Academy is a welcome development in Nigerian music with the aim of training & equipping the next generation of music executives in the country. MBA also announced partnerships with companies such as Chartmetric and Sterling Bank.
17. Adeyemi Adetunji: Head of Operations & Commercial Partnership, Audiomack Africa
Audiomack’s popularity is unprecedented and this has made it one of Nigeria’s most important music streaming app. Audiomack plays a vital role in breaching the gap between emerging artistes and consumers while also giving consumers access to premium local and international content at no cost. The efforts of Adeyemi Adetunji in leading a team that was able to make Audiomack more attractive to Nigerians makes him a key player in Nigerian music.
18. Dapo Ayo-Adeusi: Strategic Partnerships Manager, Triller Africa
Dapo Ayo-Adeusi has played a key role in making Triller a home for Nigeria creators and artistes with series such as My Day with Triller. The shows has had artistes such as Praiz, Hitboy Kellz and Dunnie. Triller has also become an avenue for artistes to connect with fans; Joeboy emerged as the No. 1 artiste on Triller (his debut album SBBM is also the most streamed Nigerain album of 2021).
19. Titilope Adesanya: Product Manager, EMPIRE
Titi Adesanya’s role as the PM of EMPIRE’s operations in Nigeria has seen her work on some of the biggest releases of 2021 – Kizz Daniel’s Barnabas, Fireboy’s “Peru,” Olamide’s “Rock,” Buju’s Outside and more. Additionally, EMPIRE is the music distributor with the joint most No. 1s in Nigeria on the TurnTable Top 50 this year (3).
20. Daniel Owolabi: Label Manager, Sony Music West Africa
Sony Music West Africa achieved stellar success in 2021 and the role of the label in this success cannot be overemphsised. As Label Manager, Gbemiro Owolabi’s efforts has culminated into an all-round turn around for the label.
21. Abuchi Peter Ugwu: CEO, Chocolate City Music
Under the leadership of Abuchi Ugwu, Chocolate City landed the biggest Hip Hop album of 2021 as the company cements its status as top imprint for the genre in the country. Additionally, Ckay’s “Love Nwantiti,” initially released under Chocolate City in 2019, would go on to become the biggest Nigerian song globally in 2021.
22. Piriye “Peedi” Isokari: Founder & CEO, Aristokrat Group
In 2021, Aristokrat launched Ria Sean as part of the next wave of The Women of Afrobeats – the artiste released a 6-track EP called Fluid under Island Def Jam.
23. Bobo F. Ajudua: Principal Partner, BFA & Co Legal
Bobo F. Ajudua serves as the legal counsel to DMW and as well as to Davido. He has been able to distinguish himself as entertainment and corporate lawyer who is ahead of the curve. Bobo Ajudua has played key roles in Davido’s numerous partnerships in 2021 while also seeking out the best opportunities for his client.
24. Obi Asika & SMADE: Founders of Afro Nation
Obika Asika & SMADE’s Afro Nation has been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of Afrobeats and African music on the global scene. The company recently announced Megan Thee Stallion as its headliner for the 2022 festival.
25. Ezekiel Thankgod Onyedikachukwu: CEO, EeZee Concepts
EeZee Concepts continues to emerge as the leading record label for Gospel Music in the country with its roster having names such as Mercy Chinwo, Judikay, GUC and Chris Morgan.
26. Deola Art Alade: CEO, Livespot 360
Livespot 360 is one of the leading companies in ensuring that Nigerians have live music experience and in 2021, the company has announced concerts with artistes such as Tiwa Savahe, PSquare, Tems, Wizkid, Spinall and more.
27. Sam Phrank, David Edogame & Yinka Akinsanya: Founders, Avante Concepts
Avante Concepts propelled Ajebo Hustlers’ as one of the leading groups in the country with “Pronto” earning a spot in the top 50 of the year while also managing the affairs of Mayorkun whose Back In Office album was a return to form for the artiste.
28. Oyinkansola “Foza” Fawehinmi: President, Digital Music Commerce & Exchange Ltd
Oyinkansola Fawehinmi has been at the forefront of ensuring that Nigerian’s ecosystem has the adequate legal framework and administrative structure that will ensure the realization of the globalization of Afrobeats.
29. Dolapo Amusat; founder of WeTalkSound
WeTalkSound released the fourth edition of its annual Valentine’s Day special, LOFN 4, in 2021 and ended the year with Camp Nova – a recording camp for emerging artistes and producers.
30. Amara Agwu: Manager/Regional Artiste & Labels Relation Manager Goje
Amara Agwu doubles as the manager of Ayra Starr (the only female artiste with multiple entries in the Top 50 Songs of 2021) and artiste & labels relation manager at Goje.