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Artists and the contracts they sign

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

ARTIST

The Octagon: Welcome To The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 7pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences. 

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ? Thank You. 

Gbubemi: Hi Everyone, my name is Gbubemi Fregene. I am Chef Fregz sometimes.

 Tyeng: Hello everyone. My name is Tyeng Gang, and at the moment I’m the program director for Urban96 Network (Radio).

Tobe:  Hi Everyone. My name is Tobechi Nneji. TobeDaDiva sometimes 😀. I am a presenter and content creator.

Uyi: Hello Everyone. My name is Uyi Osifo. I’m an artist manager and co-owner of Flux Factory Group.

Tobi: My name is Tobi Adeola. I’m a sponsorship specialist with Etisalat Nigeria

Eniola: Hello Everyone my name is Eniola Leyimu and I am an Intellectual property lawyer. Nice to e-meet you all.

Andre: My name is Andre Blaze Henshaw and I’m a broadcast creative and policy administrator.

Nike: My Name is Nike Fagbule. I am Chief Strategist and sometimes founder  at Zebra Stripes Networks, a Public Relations Company in Lagos, Nigeria. #ThatsAll.

The Octagon: ”As an artiste, you have hustled and chased the dream. Finally some record label, or an investor shows up promising you the ride of a lifetime, and checks so fat, that you could see money falling out of it. But before you sign on the dotted line, perhaps there’s a need to make sure you actually understand what you’re signing so your dreams of fame and fortune don’t turn into a nightmare.”

With the growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry comes more structure, and contractual agreements. In recent times, we have seen various artists and their labels/management looking to the court to solve disputes.

Do you think that Nigerian artists are generally overvalued or undervalued when it comes to contractual agreements ? Why do you think that Artists are continuously having issues with their labels/management ?  Finally, What are some of the things you think that every Nigerian artist should consider before signing contracts ?

Tyeng: Artist are so eager to have a ‘record deal’, they’ll sign almost anything. And you know ‘we’ don’t read terms and conditions.

Tobe: I think there is, maybe, an initial  ‘take-anything-I-can-get’ mindset on the part of the artists. They pretty much just sign anything, after they’ve been told some attractive figures and sold the ‘dream’. They hardly ever read and understand and negotiate other components of the contracts. Then they ‘grow a brain’ a few years down the line and want to level up the agreements and the investors don’t agree.

Uyi: But then again, you have investors coming into the business without a clue or an understanding of the business.

Tobi:  The entertainment industry is one the rise, but the corporate issues around it is still a concern. Beyond artists being desperate, you will notice after one or two hits, they instantly want to own a Label without really understanding the business side of music. Also regarding valuation of artists with respects to the contracts they sign, we really don’t have the data to measure the quality of contract and the value within it.

Nike:  I don’t think it is a case of read and understand. I think they really just want that big break and no matter what their lawyers or managers say. They just see how the money or platform can take them to the next level. You will hear a lot of ‘It is me that is in it not you’.

Tobe: @tobi and @uyi. I agree. So it’s a mix of ‘desperate’ artists and ‘unaware’ investors.  A classic case of bad cook and rotten tomatoes.

Uyi: The thing is, these artists are usually blinded by empty promises, the investor in most cases just wants to be famous and make money off the project ASAP. Usually this ends in a messy situation. The investor is expecting an ROI on every investment. This usually isn’t the case.

Eniola: There’s a famous saying in the music industry, that it all begins with a song. If there is no song, there can be no recording session or artist singing the song. A distinction not often made in the music industry in Nigeria is between the musical  composition and the sound recording. So for example, I can write a song for another artist. While I own the song, the artist or whoever pays for the sound recording owns it. This is where record labels come in, they usually pay for the recording. The question then is if their investment justifies what they get back.

Tyeng: These ‘Investors’. They aren’t trying to develop you, groom you, help you better yourself, improve you and the industry – Just make them money. That’s why the quality of music sucks. Song writers, producers, get nothing after, which is so sad.

Tobi: It’s OK for an investor to want to make money, for them it’s business. As you will see the Nigeria market is quite complicated and unregulated, content is not safe. Artists are now only able to make real money from endorsements and performance opportunities, and if they are good enough, they get to go on international tours. This and more are the new ways they are able to make some money, of which a part of it goes to the investor.

Uyi: @Tyeng, it’s just business, and I really don’t blame investors because they see the artist the same way they see their other investments. With regards artists being overly valued. A clear case is Skales whose buy out clause is £10,000,000.

Nike: Well. I think the buy out was not based on the value of said artiste. I think it was more to ensure that the contract is fulfilled.

Eniola: Traditionally, record labels could justify their wanting to take as much as possible because music was sold via physical copies. They also had the distribution networks under their control.  However in this day and age where most music is digital or live, and artists can promote via social media, can record labels still justify their take as much as possible approach? I do not think so.

Nike: And the sharp ones see a way to make quick money. Get that house in Banana Island and travel around. The others just keep waiting for when investor will wake up and remember that there is a label somewhere. Either way. They forget about the reason they set out to be artistes in the first place.

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