Do you think that Alpha Better records could be going through a slump and it can only get worse in the next couple of months and years?
Recall that Alpha Better Records was/is in the very recent past considered one of the best and independent record labels in Cameroon serving the Cameroonian public with good music and exporting the culture at it’s best.
Now, unlike my usual style, I will not come up with any interesting analytical points and conclude on the answer to the question in paragraph 1 above, but this time, I will bring out some analysis from both angles just to guide you reading so that you conclude on your own if at all you think the label is experiencing a downfall or that they are actually better off compared to the past years.
Also, you can read through and make your conclusion based on the points, or rather guide us through what you think and your own analysis as to how you perceive the situation. [This might be a very long read].
In an interview with Culturebene in 2017, Salatiel, the CEO of Alpha Better Records admitted that he set up the label in very desperate times especially after an epic end of the Da Thrill music group which toured round the world. So, after winning MTN Make the music contest in 2014, things quickly changed for the better and they started Mr. Leo’s career. The starting of Mr. Leo’s career was the official beginning of the successes that the label has enjoyed the past 5-6 years.
Now, with the usual early beginning struggles, they managed to drop Mr. Leo’s debut single “E Go Betta” in partnership with The Powerhouse Entertainment and later Fap Kolo remix which was done in partnership with Mtn Cameroon. Every keen watcher of kamer showbiz will know that E Go Betta and fap Kolo are the genesis of the careers of Mr. Leo, Salatiel and the label Alpha Better Records.
With Salatiel writing/producing and Mr. Leo writing right up till when Blaise B joined in 2017, Alpha Better records were behind the biggest songs in the country including Mr. Leo’s Jamais Jamais, Daphne’s Calle, Locko‘s Supporter, Clando by Blaise B x Mr. Leo and Salatiel and a host of other huge projects.
Then came the challenging moments. Drama after drama.
Managerial issues which will never be accepted till today but were squashed down to a strategy where each artiste has his own manager and team. This was good, but again, bad.
Again, pressure from outside investors and sponsors for Mr. Leo’s signature threatened the togetherness of the label and friendship/partnership between Mr. Leo and Salatiel. These were handled well as very little of the information was leaked to the media.
Drama around Askia who had joined the label in 2017. Reports of her consumption of Cocaine and heroin – ‘Caillou‘ at some point caused serious problems within the label. And in a label where the boss has to care about the career of others including his own career, there was obviously going to be a stop point and so she had to leave.
There was the “Jamais Jamais Remix” situation which caused a lot of internal issues within the label as apparently, not all the parties concerned agreed on it. However, no concrete or serious issue could pop up because it was Mr. Leo’s project and he decided to do it like he wishes. Besides, he was the bread winner of the label at that time (according to popular opinion).
Then towards the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, a certain Lionn Productions popped up owned and managed by Mr. Leo. Though still signed to Alpha Better records, Mr. Leo had to devote attention to running and grooming talents in his own record label. This made him to have an almost virgin 2019 of major projects and you will wonder what kind of record label will allow her artiste to concentrate elsewhere if not that they have had an agreement not to make any statements but proceed as they wish without any alarm?
And then, probably the biggest news or event that happened to the label came in July 2019 when Salatiel featured in Beyonce’s album. This came with lots of surprise to fans and as we expected, rush decisions started coming in, change in plans, change in projects. Salatiel who was working on a love album quickly changed and had to look at a bigger market and how he could be received not only in Africa but in the world. All attention focused on himself, African tours etc and seemingly a blind eye to the label he left behind.
This was then confirmed when Blaise B who had been in the label for almost 3 years decided to step down and continue with his label, Akwandor Empire which he managed before joining the label. Again, no signs of any strained relations. Probably their biggest hidden talent as every little issue or problem was managed internally.
Today Blaise B has returned to releasing songs under his personal YouTube channel and label, Mr. Leo running a new label grooming Kameni and Gomez who are amongst the brightest talents in the country at the moment and recently Salatiel created a new Vevo account where he dropped his recent music video, “Agayayo” which is yet to reach 20k views over a week since it’s release.
Now, for a label which started with 1, went to 2, 3, 4 multi talented heads and masterminded the biggest projects nationwide and now has returned to 1 or 2, now looking at rebuilding strategies for different markets and styles, what will you say if you are asked whether they are going through a slump period or not?
Hope this article made some sense. 80% of the content are facts and can be referred to articles and circumstances, while the rest of the 20% are based on my analysis which I trust so much. I will be looking to hear from you who managed to read through.