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By: Tendai Malata


Getting signed under a record label is always a big deal most artists hope for in their musical journey. A record label guarantees a successful career for musicians and helps them open doors for broad opportunities such as endorsement deals, cooperate deals, more bookings and various benefits.


How do record deals work?

Usually, international record labels have professional artists & repertoire representatives who scout new talent and artists to fit a particular record label. Most of these record labels brand their artists from scratch and present them on market using their resources and necessities. For example; Young Money, owned by Lil Wayne scouted the likes of Drake, Nicki Minaj & Tyga and branded them to become well-known stars.


Unlike in Malawi, Record Labels are interested in signing artists that are already doing well by themselves rather scout for talent, brand it and market their artists. “Ku Malawi, amadikila ugobole, uphuphe, uthemure, kenako utchuke kaye wekha kenaka aziti tikupanga sign mu record label yathu.” says Wikise.


Wikise describes Malawian record labels as leeches and manipulative. Most record labels are fond of using artists and continually taking advantage of their generosity just for their personal gains and profits.”Nde mafana mumangozipelekera, chikatha chaka chimodzi, kukatulukira nfana wina oti ali hot, amamutenga nkukutaya iweyo.” says Che Wikise, sharing from an observed point of view and experience.


What brings about questions is, if these record labels are enthusiastic about uplifting talent, why don’t they approach the slums and scout for real talent if their mission is really promoting?


Furthermore, Wikise encourages up and coming artists to be sensitive about their careers and refrain from such deals unless they are legitimately promising, otherwise they will go no where.

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