Naija Music: Dear Upcoming Artiste, Get A Lawyer Before You 'Blow'
Zoro, Phyno, Kizz Daniel, Davido, Wizkid and Falz
Some musicians have tasted the record deal waters and have decided to stay independent.
The success stories of these musicians are illustrations of the problems associated with signing uninformed record deals.
The ongoing lawsuits between Runtown and Eric Many or Kizz Daniel and G- Worldwide are pointers to why many musicians still follow the solo route.
When Zoro spoke to Bounce News, he complained that record labels in the country are designed to rip artistes off in their contracts. But is this always the case?
While some artistes might feel record labels do not have their best interest at heart, Ngozi Aderibigbe, a Commercial Lawyer and Intellectual property specialist, focuses on the need for artistes to seek proper legal counsel before inking the dotted lines.
"Having intellectual property is not the end of the story, it is what you do with it. The question is getting the right advisers. It’s a question of what you do with it and what contract you enter.
''Each contract is peculiar, there is no hat that fits all. You can contract away your legal right. The kind of contract you enter can determine your career. At the end of the day, the parties have deemed to have agreed which overrides the law.” She told Bounce News.
So how does a musicians get protection from signing away their careers?
It starts by not being afraid to get a lawyer.
While most lawyers can look at a contract, however, a musician needs an intellectual property lawyer to read between the lines.
“There are only few artistes who understand the severity of these things, until they can get their fingers burnt. I am a commercial, intellectual property lawyer and I speak to every client I have, my job is two folds.
"I help you make money out of your intellectual property. I help you help you avoid intellectual property risk. Either way when you look at it, it leads to one thing making money out of intellectual property", she said.
"If you prevent an artiste from creating once he breaks that contract, he is commercially incapacitated. We are in the process, when this becomes more frequent people will begin to have these kinds of discussions", Aderigbigbe added.
Based on her experience when dealing with people from the creative industry, she makes one thing clear, that the musician like any other creative person should assume that their contract is one-sided.
"Basically, any party who drafts a contract will load that contract with clauses that benefit him or her significantly, that is the way it works, that is the way life is. That is the way it is expected to be.
"We can assume that every contract is lopsided until it is reviewed by the lawyer who helps to strike a balance” she said.
So before you sign that next deal dear musician-get a lawyer to avoid settling matters in court.