One of the recent additions to television content all over the world is reality music competition shows. These shows create high profile recording artistes through televised talent contests. Nigerian examples of these shows are Nigerian Idols, Glo’s Naija Sings and the West African Project Fame contest.
Every industry has several specialized contracts that regulate its activities. In previous articles, we had dwelt a bit on Recording, management and 360° contracts in the media and entertainment industry. Another massively profitable aspect of the entertainment industry that has not been explored in Nigeria is professional song-writing and by inference, the execution of publishing deals. In Nigeria today, everybody is 'going low', 'azontoing' and 'poping thingz' because we have a dearth of properly written songs.
A viable model for growing successful businesses is strategic partnership. Parties pool resources together to adequately take care of projected deliverables. A partnership occurs when parties agree to cooperate by contributing expertise, property, finance etc to advance mutual interests.
The Nigerian entertainment industry today is rife with ignorant, flagrant and most times inexcusable infringement of existing copyright in other works of arts. This trend has become so rampant that even artists whose works are infringed upon do not even bat an eyelid about this intellectual rape. Songs are produced everyday with the same beat, same lyrics and sometimes same 'everything' that we only now differentiate songs based on the artiste performing them.
I know that all of us are performing artistes even though most of us do it only in our bathrooms!!! For those of us that therefore desire to take music as a business, it is without doubt that signing a recording contract is one of the primary means by which a living can be made from it. Without recording, it would be difficult for any artiste to showcase his art and the talent to the consuming public. There have been opinions from various quarters that artistes these days can actually survive and build a career without a recording deal. While this might have a semblance of some sense since studio equipments and marketing tools have been made easily assessable through technological advancements and the social media, an artiste still requires a formal structure behind him to push his music out to the world most especially at the start-up of his career. It is therefore imperative that artistes execute record deals that afford them the opportunity to develop their careers rather than inadvertently stifle it by executing contracts that are traps just lying in wait for blood. Biko, when I refer to record deals, I mean deals with proper labels oooo, not these two for a penny labels we have flying around these days...
Pssssssst, bia Dear Artiste, wake up and smell the kunu, you now have responsibilities which you MUST live up to. In our daily lives, we engage in one form of business transaction or the other. Each of these engagements is a product of offers, negotiations, counter-offers and final agreements. These agreements are either oral or documented and they vary from the simple agreements like hiring a cab, buying 'rizla' from the aboki, to relatively complex and complex agreements like renting a house, buying a piece of land, engaging an artiste manager or securing a recording contract, executing a Power Purchase Agreement or a Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement etc. The most important fiber that runs through ALL these categories of contracts is their 'bindingness'.
Newsflash, no one came to Lagos to count bridges!!! We all are in business for what we stand to gain and no matter how 'nice' any man might be, he would watch out for his own interest before any other person. It is nothing personal, that's how we are as humans. As I had stated in my previous article, money is one of the major items (after women and ego) that can turn blood brothers into sworn enemies. It is therefore important that emerging artistes pay particular attention to the finance clauses in their Management Agreements. Please understand that the simpler the Agreement, the easier it is to decipher what it covers and what it excludes.
This article written in commemoration of the World Intellectual Property Day 2012
This year's edition of the World Intellectual Property day celebrates "visionary innovators". In his World IP day message, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Francis Gurry, expressed that this year's celebration is aimed at celebrating people whose innovations one way or the other, transform our lives because their impact is enormous and they have changed the way our society operates.
Before I delve into the clauses you should pay particular attention to in your Artiste Management Agreement, it is important that I point out that a management agreement should only be executed between parties that have a modicum of respect and trust for each other. As much as possible, avoid entering into an agreement with someone or an entity that you have a valid ground to distrust (i.e. if the manager don snatch your babe before, chances be say you no go trust am with anything...)
No matter the prior relationship between the artist and the Manager, it is pertinent that it be formalized as soon as they agree to start a Manager-artist relationship. Don't ever say 'brother Taju is my person; there is no need for Agreement'. As far as we know, Don Jazzy and D'banj have terminated their relationship (whatever that means) and Duncan Mighty and his childhood friend and Manager also recently did... Yam pepper can also scatter scatter for brother Taju and yourself o.