Slikour onLife

Urban Culture and Music


@Ambitious_ENT And @Mabala_Noise..The Death Of The Major Recording Label

A couple of years ago maybe three years or so the digital uptake for content increased in the country. Over time this challenged the exclusivity or cutting edge influence of traditional platforms like radio, magazine and television.

The artist that really spearheaded the urban market to switch to digital was Cassper Nyovest and from then on almost every artist started prioritizing their digital push. This was a strategy that traditional recording companies hadn't cracked and are struggling to still get right, hence you haven't heard anything about a major recording company breaking a new artist in this day and age.


The success that digital platforms provided local artists was never a threat to major recording labels cause getting people to access your music is one part of the business and most artists can afford the data to push their songs on social media but can't afford a tour, radio and tv sampling, music videos, merchandise, physical distribution and all the things that a major recording company could commit that would amplify the artists beyond digital or break him.

Even though recording companies have all these resources in the last 5 years we've seen a shift in their priorities with less spend being put on local artists and more push on the international releases.

So that means we have artists that are doing well using digital but there isn't a real business machine that can supports their growth beyond that unless they use their own money which means that they might look like they making a lot of money but their overheads are mad high cause they keep reinvesting in their craft and when the shows dry up they can't continue with the same momentum.

So what makes an industry grow?
Traditionally it was a lable finding product/artist and having the muscle to distribute it nationally on radio and stores all this was ran by labels owned by an international group except Gallo.

Today there's a new breed of artists who not only want to conquer the local stations but want to be players in the world,a service that a traditional major company would hardly provide even in their prime. The music industry has seen a dip in sales but the benchmark of where a local artist can reach has never been as high as it is today.
Local artist went from dreaming to being signed to now being global icons.I mean yesterday we saw the images with BlackCoffee and P.Diddy and a few months ago Zakes was remixing a Chris Brown song.


With labels like Ambitious and Mabala Noise which are ran by youthful black individuals we witnessing a synergy of business attempting to support the new artist benchmark financially. This questions the validity of traditional recording labels which are generally focused on their territory for example SonySA must sign SA artists only and push them in SA. This is not in line with the new benchmark cause todays success is not only being on local radio and television,artists want the world and a local major recording labels mandate doesnt provide that.

The common goal these new businesses or investors have with the artists is that they all young,they beleive in doing the impossible, the one has talent and the other money and they also from one generation. If the business makes sense this can easily mean the birth of a new type of industry spearheaded by this generations investors and creatives.

With the success of Ambitious and the announcement of Riky being signed to Mabala Noise the kids are going to stop looking for their answers from Sony,Warner or Gallo and they'll start running to these labels. If these labels or investors have their houses in order we are going to see the birth of a whole new industry for Africans by Africans. We will see a new wave of artists that will build their momentum independently and instead of looking for a deal they'll start looking for investors.

I'm an idealist or maybe a prophet and I believe that this is the beginning of the turning point.

Do you agree?
Is the new music revolution in our midst?
Are traditional recording companies getting extinct?
What are your thoughts?