The young pop singer has enjoyed organic growth since the start of his career moving from a buzzing song, to a club hit, before graduating to a string of viral hit singles and emotional acceptance by fans.
From ‘Duro’ to ‘Pana’, all of the singer’s songs since 2015 have become hit records, which gather the greatest acceptance on the continent. He’s like a machine now, dropping one hit after another, like a programme that is running at full capacity.
Tekno’s deal with Columbia Records have been flaunted by the singer and his reps on social media, with the figure $4 million, yelled into the camera every time he is asked.
When the ‘Pana’ singer signed on to the American record label, he joined a list of Nigerian artistes who are increasingly doing business with the major music corporation.
Wizkid, Davido, Ayo Jay, and Ycee are all involved with Sony Music at different levels with business deals that are designed to generate value for both ends.
According to a new article by Billboard, the singer’s deal was only for ‘Pana‘. Billboard spoke to Imran Majid, senior vice president of A&R at Columbia, who signed the track and re-released it in December.
Imran Majid, who has spent four years in A&R at Columbia following previous work at Republic Records and Universal Motown Record Group, discovered the song in August 2016. “‘Pana’ popped on to my radar through a viral video on Facebook of a couple dancing to the song on the beach,” he remembers. “I heard it, loved the song, flagged it.”
“It’s a bonus when an artist is coming out of a scene,” Majid adds. “There’s a network of great artists coming out of West Africa, and this music travels very quickly in the U.S., in Canada, in the U.K., throughout Europe.”
The deal from Sony enabled that ‘Pana’ was re-released in the US, and distributed accordingly. There were plans to make a remix of the song with a top US artist, in order to boost the sales. But that hasn’t happened, and Sony Music decided to move forward with the original.
But according to Majid, the deal does not cover Africa, and Tekno can continue to release his music.
“The luxury that we have is his team is so strong in the African market that they can start other records there,” Majid says. “For them, ‘Pana’ is an old record; they go onto the next one. We can focus on ‘Pana.'”
In an recent interview with Linda Ikeji, Ubi Franklin, also talked about the deal. He revealed that preliminary contract papers were first signed and sent back for vetting, which kickstarted the process.
“We were in a very busy period, it was difficult for us to travel, it’s not something that you go and travel, do, stay for one day and come back, so what they did was to seal up something before next year, so what we did was a preliminary signing.
“We’d been going back and forth for about three, four months, when the contract was right, we had to sign our copy here and send it to them, when we go back there, we would pick up our copy, the one they have signed, that’s when we will officially announce it,” he further explained.
According to a reliable source involved in Tekno’s deal, the singer who had a great 2016, signed a 3-single deal with Columbia records, to be produced and distributed and sold by the music house across the globe, in various markets where African music is being consumed. The deal was brokered by Nigerian entertainment mogul, Paul Okoye of Upfront and Personal and MMMG co-owner, Ubi Franklin.
‘Pana’, which was released in July 2016, was a major African hit across the continent and beyond, and has shown crossover potential in different markets. The video released in August, has racked up over 27 million views on VEVO.
The powers at Columbia Records, after being alerted to this new wave by sources, have thrown their weight behind the man, investing in the single and 2 others. ‘Pana’ officially is the property of Sony Music Entertainment, and will be distributed across different markets.
It is likely that the longevity of ‘Pana’ will still be be explored with a remix designed to make it penetrate more. This is not uncommon. In 2016, Ayo Jay’s deal with RCA Records, involved a remix to his chart topper, ‘Your number’. It featured Chris Brown and Kid Ink.
After ‘Pana’, According to our source, there will be two other singles to be released by Tekno under Columbia Records, these singles will pass through the terms of the deal. Based on the performance of all three singles, all parties will now explore the option of an extension, or a new deal. If the singles perform poorly, then its goodbye from Columbia.