South Africa has over 20 reputable record labels, below we share three out of the many that are looking for new artists to sign.
In recent years we have seen a change in the music industry, from artists being signed with major record labels as the preferred choice, to the push for indie releases.
However, with artists understanding the significance and benefits of having a major record label backing releases in terms of distribution and promotion, something has arguably changed.
As such, there has been a rise in new record labels looking for new artists to sign. Steering away from the major record labels, this article will share new, popular record labels looking for artists to sign.
The benefit of signing with new popular record labels
As highlighted before, in recent years South Africa has seen a rise in independent record labels partnering with major record labels like Sony Music and Universal Music Group Africa.
This has allowed for the newer, start-up record labels to benefit from the contact base of the major record labels in terms of distribution and marketing, depending on the contract signed.
This is advantageous for upcoming artists looking to sign with a new and popular record label, in that there is a better chance of signing with these than with the major, more well-known records, since there is not as much gatekeeping.
Moreover, with new record labels there is an emphasised focus on honing the new talent as opposed to major record labels who already have popular artists under their rosters.
South African record labels looking for artists
With over 20 reputable record labels in South Africa, it is somewhat easier for new artists seeking a deal to find one. Taking that into account, before reaching out to a specific record label, it is important to do your research, since most record labels have a specific niche that they cater to.
Hence, before seeking a deal with a record label, it is important to know whether they have experience in the music genre that you want to break into.
Moreover, while the purpose of a record label is to facilitate the promotion, distribution, and the protection of the artist and their music, we have come to learn that that is not always the case. Therefore, before signing any agreement, artists are encouraged to have independent representation – be it a trusted manager to ensure that you are protected as an artist, or legal representation.
Below are our three picks of new and popular record labels in South Africa looking for up-and-coming artists.
1. Ambitiouz Entertainment
Ambitiouz Entertainment is one of the newest and fastest-growing record labels in South Africa. This is despite the contention surrounding the record label for its treatment of its first generation of artists, namely, Amanda Black, Emtee, Fifi Cooper, and A-Reece.
The record label is home to some of the biggest artists to have blown up in recent years. Their description reads as follows:
“The summer of 2015 saw the birth of Ambitiouz Entertainment, the biggest independent record label defined and inspired by a passion for music and developing young talent. Living up to its principle “Defining an Era, Changing lives” Ambitiouz Entertainment is now home to young and fresh South African talent such as award-winning Afro-pop duo, Blaq Diamond, Lesotho born artists Malome Vector and Wave Rhyder, Cici, Miss Pru, Intaba Yase Dubai, LaSauce, Manny Yack, Fakaloice, Kid Tini, Sibu Nzuza, Dr MaVibes, Snymaan, Brvdley, Kraizie and S’Villa.”
2. Piano Hub
Piano Hub is one of the newest record labels, formalised in 2020. The record label is owned by leading amapiano producer and DJ, Kabelo “Kabza De Small” Motha. As such, the record label is focused on promoting amapiano DJs, producers, and musicians.
The roster of the record label includes Ace Of Spades collaborator, Da Muziqal Chef, and current frontman for the record label, Young Stunna. The Adiwele hitmaker released his 2021 debut EP, Notumato, through the record label.
The record label currently does not have a website, therefore, it is only possible to get a deal through gigging, exposure, and reaching out to Kabza De Small himself, or artists that are a part of the record label.
3. Vth Season
Vth Season was founded in 2011 by Raphael Benza. The business is more than just a record label, and imagines itself as a creative entertainment agency. It also functions as a management company for the artists it has under its brand.
This formerly included leading rapper, AKA, but it is now home to some of the most well-known local talent including BigStar Johnson and Ami Faku. The website’s description reads:
“The entity is best known for developing unknown raw music talent to celebrated household name status in Africa, with recognition from multiple award committees such as the South African Music Awards (SAMAs), Metro FM Awards, MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA’s) as well as international nods from the likes of the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards and MTV Europe Music.”
With over 20 reputable record labels in South Africa that are continually looking for new artists to sign, up-and-coming new artists looking for representation are spoilt for choice. Hence, it is of importance that the artist does their research thoroughly when seeking a record label to sign with.
Moreover, before signing, artists should always seek representation independent of the record label to ensure that the contract is drawn up in their best interest, since record labels are businesses that are primarily concerned with the bottom line first, then the needs or wants of the artist.