Ebunoluwa Bayode-Ojo is a member of Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL) Alternative Dispute Resolution, Corporate Commercial, Sports, Entertainment, and Technology (SET) Practice Groups. Following circumstances that surrounded late Mohbad’s recording case with Marlian Records, she shared her views on legal issues in Recording Label deals.
According to Wikipedia, a record deal is a legally binding contract between a record label and a recording artist or group. In this article, I will be examining record label agreements, especially those involving artists like Mohbad who tragically passed away who creates music for the label to promote and sell.
Recent developments in the Nigerian music industry especially in relation to the circumstances surrounding the death of Mohbad, a Nigerian music artiste and songwriter who was formerly signed under Marlian Records (Record label) have raised concerns about some record labels engaging in exploitative practices and even criminal activities under the guise of record labels.
These labels have been accused of imposing unfair and oppressive contracts on artists, leading to disputes when artists seek to exit such agreements.
Understanding the importance of recording contracts is crucial for entertainment professionals, especially aspiring artists. Signing a contract without full comprehension can lead to unfavourable situations and conflicts with label executives down the line.
When executed correctly, recording contracts establish a strong foundation for a balanced and mutually beneficial relationship between both parties. Conversely, poorly structured contracts can harm one party and erode the relationship over time. However, it is important to state that artists have the right to protection from these unfair terms even when they have executed such contracts.
Some other issues that often arise are breach of contract, human rights violations and abuses, use of intimation, sexual harassment, and unethical practices.
Another significant issue in the industry relates to royalties. Some labels insert excessive and unjustifiable deductions, effectively preventing artists from receiving their fair share even after their demise thereby affecting their estate. These deductions often encompass various label expenses, such as owners’ salaries and benefits, as well as extravagant expenses like travel, accommodations, meals, and entertainment.
In conclusion, to navigate these complexities it is apt to point out that as a recording artiste or even as the owner of a record label, little can be done without the help of a lawyer, preferably an entertainment lawyer. Before an artiste signs any deal with a record label, it is advisable that they contact a lawyer as this would protect the artiste from signing record deals with very harsh or hazardous conditions. It is a crucial step in ensuring a fair and equitable experience for artists and protecting their human rights within the industry.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.