Music Business

Industry Moves: D’Banj announces global distribution deal with Priority Records, subsidiary of Capitol Records

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Coming on the heels of his just concluded listening party for his soon to be released album, ‘King Don Come,’ D’Banj announces he has signed a global distribution deal with Priority Records, a subsidiary of Capitol Records.

D’Banj took a hard hit five years ago after his business “divorce,” as he calls it, from his business partner and long time friend Don Jazzy. The two had built, arguably, Africa’s first major contemporary record company, Mo’ Hits Records. At the height of their success, they signed a joint venture deal with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music and just when it seemed they were ready to soar on the global front, their relationship ended abruptly. The split was ugly and made headlines globally. Don Jazzy seemed to move on with such ease after the “divorce.” He launched Mavin Records, signed Tiwa Savage to the label, and later leveraged her reach and his influence to broker a management deal, just last year, with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for Tiwa.

D’Banj, on the other hand, appeared to stumble, a lot, until he recently launched the C.R.E.A.M platform. D’Banj claims the one-year-old platform is valued at $130million. He also, prior to the announcement of CREAM’s valuation, drew criticism from fans for perambulating pictures of himself and Blac Chyna as one of the outcomes of his album listening party held in Los Angeles during the BET Awards, as mentioned above. Nevertheless, D’Banj’s new relationship with Capitol Records may be a fit as the label too has experienced a business relationship shake-up and just rebranded with the relaunch, this past June, of Priority Records.

An excerpt from a recent Billboard article explains their history:

“…Few record labels were as important to the rise of West Coast hip-hop as Priority Records. Founded in 1985 by Bryan Turner and Mark Cerami, the indie took a chance on a crew of MCs bubbling out of Los Angeles at a time when rap was dominated by the East Coast and helped turn N.W.A into a national powerhouse with the release of 1988’s Straight Outta Compton, putting the West Coast, and gangsta rap, on the map.

Priority’s ownership has shifted over the years since it was sold to EMI in 2001; it was acquired by Universal Music Group in its $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI in 2012, then shifted from Island Def Jam to Capitol when IDJ was broken up in 2014. Now, CMG is relaunching the legendary imprint as an indie-leaning, versatile distribution wing focused largely on emerging hip-hop acts. Overseen by CMG chairman/CEO Steve Barnett, COO Michelle Jubelirer, new executive vp Dion “No I.D.” Wilson, CFO Geoff Harris and Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam, Priority will be run by L.A. radio veteran William “Fuzzy” West and A&R executive Serge Durand to help push Capitol deeper into the hip-hop market…” – Billboard Magazine

What this means is that it is new territory for both D’Banj and Priority Records, and can give D’Banj a lot of flexibility if he knows what he is doing with C.R.E.A.M. It is good to see D’Banj find his bearings again. His C.R.E.A.M business model is also interesting. It’s a venture where artists obtain recording deals by entering into contests sponsored by his investors. The winner of such contests receives cash prizes, several music services, and a recording contract. It’s also a great draw to attract content and monetize it. A good move, for now, on the continent, but there are many red flags from a copyright law and litigation standpoint as the platform grows. He will need to really lawyer up since he will be spending a lot of time licensing and distributing that content.

I think it is good to see D’Banj find his bearings again. His C.R.E.A.M business model is also interesting. It’s a venture where artists obtain recording deals by entering into contests sponsored by his investors. The winner of such contests receives cash prizes, several music services, and a recording contract. It’s also a great draw to attract content and monetize it. A good move, for now, on the continent, but there are many red flags from a copyright law and litigation standpoint as the platform grows. He will definitely need to really lawyer up since he will be spending a lot of time clearing, licensing, and distributing content.

Read the press statement below.

NOTE: D’Banj, you really don’t need to hang on to Kanye West in your press headlines, especially if you will call yourself “former”. It’s inconsequential, plus Kanye has enough problems for now and probably would appreciate you letting him lay low from the media, for a minute.

-Ms. Uduak

Former Kanye West G.O.O.D Music Artist D’Banj Signs Global Distribution Deal With Priority Records

Nigerian born singer-songwriter, musician, entrepreneur, humanitarian and philanthropist Daniel Oyebanjo; known to most as D’Banj (dee-bonge), signed a global distribution deal with Priority Records. The deal allows talented artist in Africa that are subscribers to the Creative Reality Entertainment Arts and Music Digital Platform (C.R.E.A.M.) to now have access to global distribution through Capital Records, parent company of Priority Records; by D’Kings Men Media Limited (DKM), parent company of D’CREAM Records.

“I am so humbled! A dream that started on paper has finally come to fruition. Africa is the future of the world,” said D’Banj. “A year ago, I launched a platform to help creative talents find their dreams across Nigeria. The platform was developed by Africans, for Africa, to showcase artists across the world. It is testament to what I always say that, content is the New Crude Oil.”

The deal comes just after the recent 130-million dollars valuation of the one-year-old C.R.E.A.M. Platform by one of the World’s leading auditors KPMG. D’CREAM Records is hitting the ground running with the deal as it releases D’Banj’s most anticipated fourth studio album Project King Don Come.

Priority Records is an American record label that changed the music industry by pioneering distribution deals with artist-run companies. Priority is known for many highly successful artists including Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Master P, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg. It also distributed hip hop record labels including Death Row Records, No Limit Records, Roc-A- Fella Records, and Wu-Tang Records.

“We are excited the C.R.E.A.M. Platform is now a part of the global distribution service,” said Fuzzy West, General Manager of Priority Records. “At Priority, we are always searching for new music. The African music platform offers originality and a unique sound; which is why this is an electrifying deal with D’Banj.”

The C.R.E.A.M. Platform founded by D’Banj was created to discover, nurture, manage and promote various artistic and creative minds across Africa. The platform is a subscription based digital platform which will now afford individuals with the opportunity to have their work discovered, showcased, marketed and promoted globally. Subscribers will also now have access to global distribution with priority records through D’CREAM Records. The Platform is open to entries for all creative arts disciplines including music, film, dance, photography and fine arts. C.R.E.A.M. is built on mobile telecommunication technology (USSD communication technology), currently provided on MTN which is Africa’s largest mobile network operator. The MTN platform provides infrastructure, logistics and distribution service for its 200 million subscribers to be part of the C.R.E.A.M. Platform evaluation process for talent discovery.

As an entertainer, his entire adult life, D’Banj successfully spearheaded the modern music revolution in the Nigerian music industry with his energetic and charming persona. D’Banj has garnered many achievements and acknowledgments throughout his career. He was named one of Africa’s most powerful celebrities by Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/pictures/eedh45gdheh/dbanj-31- nigerian-mu/#13a3014c8e87), and earlier in his career signed a mega deal with Sony Music’s RCA Records. The deal was described as a Pan African, multi-album deal. In 2013, D’Banj was named the Bank of Industry Ambassador; in 2014 he was named the first official African Ambassador for Apple beats by dr. dre, in 2015 he was named the official African Ambassador for Cîroc Nigeria; and in the same year, he was renamed as the GLO Ambassador. D’Banj is also the founder of Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development, and is Nigeria’s first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace. D’Banj joined Bono’s One.org as an Ambassador of the Do Agric Campaign. He released the song “Cocoa Na Chocolate” in support of agriculture investments, and piloted the “Do Agric” campaign which generated over 2 million signed petitions in only six months.

The C.R.E.A.M. Platform is expanding throughout the continent of Africa, where it will undoubtedly find the same success it did in Nigeria. It is reported that the platform has over 3 million active subscribers, 400,000 daily paying users and has discovered thousands of talents from the music category alone.

Please note: Information about Priority Records can be found here: http://www.priorityrecords.com
Information about Capitol Records can be found here: http://www.capitolrecords.com
Information about Universal Music Group can be found here: http://www.universalmusic.com

Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills, other media resources and interview request please email or call the contact listed on the release.

Follow D’Banj on Twitter, and Instagram. For more information about the C.R.E.A.M. and D’Banj, visit http://dcreamrecords.com. D’Banj music videos are also available to watch on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T4HxfUavtA&feature=youtu.be. Also watch D’Banj and Kanye West perform at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qjpaxltliBY.”

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AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website and podcast show empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Winston Balagare says:

    This is so sad. The man (supposedly) has a child to support now, and he’s still pulling off these hustles for income. SMDH. What record label in their right mind would invest even $100 in D’banj? Are they crazed? Have they not heard his most recent musical abomination, ‘It’s Not A Lie’? I have to give it to Dapo, though–his ability to finesse these foreigners out of dollars is impressive. The craziest thing about this newest deal is that if Priority Records knew the slightest thing about Nigerian music, they’d have pursued the two artists performing with him on that song–Wande Coal and Harrysong. Those two have more talent in their pinky fingers than Dapo does in entire stringy body of his.

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