Four Business Lessons Creators Can Learn from Mavin Records

When you think of Nigerian record labels with excellent output, Mavin Records is one of the first names that come to mind. Mavin has helped carry Afrobeats to the worldwide stage. With big names like Rema and Ayra Starr, it’s no small wonder what the secret to their success is.

In this maiden edition of #LearnwithSelar, a biweekly publication that gleans creator and business-focused insights from real-life case studies, join us as we delve into Mavin Records and some key qualities that make them stand out from their peers, as well as practical lessons creators can learn from the record label and implement in their own creative pursuits. 

What makes them stand out? Let’s delve in. 

1. Artistic Development

We can all agree that the artists in the Supreme Mavin Dynasty (SMD) are hitmakers. From Rema’s Calm Down to Crayon’s Ijo Laba Laba, and even Mavin All Stars anthem Won Da Mo, the ability to transform lyrics and sounds into unforgettable tunes appears effortless with them. But how do they do this? It surely isn’t an overnight process. The artists have undergone a refining process to get to where they are now.

Don Jazzy, founder and CEO of Mavin Records, likened the process of artistic development to the fictional X-Men program in a recent interview. He said, “It’s not something that people can apply for.  It’s like X-Men. Xavier has to go and reach out to you and say: ‘I see that you have this superpower. How about you come and join the academy?’”

This process allows for quality selection and great training. The artists get to really hone their art in the academy. They work on their style, delivery, vibe, personality, and everything that would make them successful artists.  So when a ‘Mavin Activated’ artist makes their debut, you can be sure that they have dedicated hours to honing their talents and skills, and it’s going to be a hit.

2. Great Partnerships

For much of its existence, Mavin Records has been self-actualized. The label didn’t really conform to Western practices or standards, and Don Jazzy did not consider partnerships. However, this changed in 2019 when Kupanda Holdings, a joint venture between Kupanda Capital and TPG Growth, made a multi-million dollar investment into the record label.

What did this do for Mavin Records? First, the investment gave them much of the capital required to run the label more effectively. They could hire more staff, upgrade their equipment, and do all they needed to better equip their blossoming artists.

Furthermore, it allowed them to stand toe to toe with Universal Music, Warner, Atlantic, and other major global labels when they started flooding the market. Clearly, the partnership has paid off as recent news suggests that some of these labels are considering investing or outrightly buying the company.  This goes to show just how well and how far partnering strategically has helped the label grow. 

3. Incredible TeamWork

Artistic development would not be possible without the wonderful staff who work at Mavin Records. “Being able to read and understand people, the ability to be patient in times of crisis, all those things are very important,” Don Jazzy shared when talking about his team.

The care taken in the selection process leads to strong bonds between the artists and the staff. It helps the artists grow into the best versions of themselves with the supervision and guidance of competent, emotionally intelligent people.

4. Strategic Marketing 

Of course, one cannot talk about Mavin Records and their massive success without mentioning their careful, data-driven marketing moves that put their artists on the line of success. 

A great example is Rema’s ability to capture the Indian market with his sound, especially after the success of his biggest hit (yet), Calm Down. From being a guest on Indian Live TV shows, to touring in India, and even ranking number one in the Indian music market, it’s clear that being able to hone in on the fact that his sound was being listened to by Indians and capitalising on it with appearances and tours was a great marketing move. 

We can also talk about Ayra Starr and her long-term business partnership with Darling Hair, which has benefited both parties greatly.  Because Ayra is Gen-z, and known for wearing her hair in braids, the partnership with a modern and dynamic hair extensions brand like Darling proved to be a natural fit.

Key Takeaways

As creators, there is so much we can learn from Mavin Records and how they have developed their talents. Here are a few key points you can apply to your work:

  1. Take your time and learn. Rema’s artistry has developed a lot from the young boy who filmed videos singing in the car, and we know that outside his natural talents, the training he has undergone at Mavin Records has contributed to his success. Similarly, as a creative, it’s not enough to be a talented writer or teacher. Keep learning. Keep reading. Keep trying to improve in your craft, so that you can remain relevant to the audiences you are trying to reach.
  2. Don’t be scared to collaborate or partner with other brands or creators. It does not steal from your sauce. Rather, it adds to it, opening you up to new audiences, resources and opportunities that will help you grow.
  3. Make marketing decisions that align with who you are and your vision as a creator. Not everything will be for you. Recognising the opportunities that will benefit your work while remaining true to who you are is a sure way to succeed and remain successful.