Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Reasons Why Nigerian Music Artiste Don’t Last With Their Record Labels

To say the music industry in Nigeria is presently booming like never before is an understatement. Many artistes are being introduced almost on weekly basis. Samuel Abulude writes on the mutual relationship between artistes and their record labels and examines why most Nigerian musicans don’t last on their record lebels
In the last ten years, Nigerian music industry experienced a global appeal that makes other African countries grow in envy and make international artistes want to do collaborations with their Nigerian counterparts. This is as a result of the ability of Nigerian artistes to infuse their traditional flair to the hip hop genre of music not forgetting the price paid by great Nigerian artistes who brought the world’s attention to Nigerian music and most are now reaping the fruits of their labour.
The music industry has a great potential of being bigger as more record labels are being established to accommodate more artistes, nurture their talent and release them to the global music world. But in recent times, more artistes are being reported to have walked out off their record labels in search of better and more productive labels to expose their talents.
Artistes leaving Record labels recently
According to a report, separation usually happens in two forms: mutual separation where an artiste sees his contract and chooses to leave and one-sided separation where an artistes sues to leave the record labels unceremoniously, just walking off or being dropped by the label before the contract expires,
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Since Don Jazzy and D'banj parted ways in what we believe were amicable terms, leading to the eventual dissolution of Mo-Hits Records, Nigerian music industry has witnessed probably the greatest era of artistes leaving or being dropped from their labels or management since the Storm Music Records exodus that happened between 2005 and 2007.
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B-Red was reported to have left HKN label last month. The label belongs to Davido and his elder brother and B-Red is a cousin of Davido. His reason for leaving was because he felt that the label was not doing much to promote him as Davido was the only one headlining shows under the label. But recently, he came out on a TV station to debunk claims that he had dumped the label. Perhaps, there is reconciliation in the offing as the artistes along with Shina Rambo have had a sharp disagreement with Davido in recent times.
 
Jesse Jagz formerly of Choclocate City also recently dumped the label and moved on to start his own Jagz Nation. Though he produced the biggest single ever on the label (Oleku), the artiste didn’t mince words when he announced his departure from Chocolate City Records. His former label mates, M.I (Jude Abaga) his senior brother, Ice Prince and Chocolate city have all spoken to show solidarity with his decision.
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WizKid, one of the rising stars of Hip hop left EME label in February in circumstances that revealed he must have being unhappy of the treatment he received from his record label.
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May D is another artiste formerly of Square Records but left last year in unfriendly circumstances to start his own Confam Entertainment. His signing to Square Records seemed like the perfect match, after featuring on Chop My MoneyWith Akon and dropping some singles on the label. He seems to fairing well after his exit.
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Olamide now the toast of rappers was formerly of Coded Tunes and managed Toni Payne Management. Along the line, things didn’t work out and he just left and declared YNBL Nation without announcing officially of his reason for leaving Coded Tunes managed by ID Cabasa. Now his own boss, leading YBNL Nation and managed by Tony Nwakalor Management, his decision has paid off.
The list goes on and on. What of Eva Alordia formerly of Trybe records. http://tayoyarns.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/eva003.jpg 
She is one of the most promising female rappers in Nigeria. The label released a press statement dropping her without her releasing anything with them.
YemiAlade is another artiste who was signed under Jus’ Kiddin’ Entertainment and has moved on to pitch her tent with Effizzy Entertainment. Since then Yemi has gone ahead to drop different songs and videos, and is currently gearing to drop her Debut Mixtape on her new Label.
Record labels and their interests
According to Wikipaedia, there are at least seven dominant Records labels in Nigeria and they include Kennis Music Alapomeji Records owned by 9ice, Choclolate City headed by AuduMaikori, Independent Entertainment owned by Faze of the famed PlantashunBoiz, KayCee Records, Yaak Entertainment and Marvin Records. But with the emergence of newer artistes, more Record labels are being churned.
There is Empire Mates Entertainment EME label owned by Banky W and TundeDemuren, HKN label owned by Davido and his brother Wale Adeleke, Hypertek Records owned by Tu Face Idibia. DB Records, the new record label floated by D Banj has Kayswitch, his brother, a Ghanaian artiste and another American under the label.
A record label normally signs a contract with an artiste and it is documented. Part of the function of this record label is to nurture the talent of the artistes signed under them and project them to the industry. When this is done and the artistes become a commercial success, both definitely smile to the bank. It is when the artistes do not realize their goals under the label that is where the conflict begins.
An entertainment lawyer, Barrister Akinyemi noted that the terms of the contract depend on the label who determines the worth of the artiste as at that time. “The recording label determines the artiste’s worth in their own estimation. A record label is normally aimed at developing the talent of an artiste and weighs his contract by it. Depending on the level of his literacy, the deal can be 70-30 talking about the sharing formula of how much they make from the artiste.
But if the artistes negotiate well, the recording contract can be 60-40 which talks about his entitlement. (The record label takes the higher percentage while the artiste has the remaining percentage). If it is not 60-40, then it is 55-45 which is the standard in developed countries”, says Akinyemi. He added that artistes normally walk out their contract when they feel the label they signed under is not doing enough to promote them.
Kenny Ogungbe is a veteran in the music industry. The CEO of Kennis Music who has helped the careers of various artistes notably Tu Face, OJB, Tony Tetuila, Faze and others remarked that there are some record labels that are not supposed to be in the industry because they lie to the artistes and promise them heaven and earth that they cannot fulfil.
Why an artiste may dump his record label
A lot of factors come into play that makes musical artistes not to last in Record Labels. The artistes involved either walk out of the contract they have with their record labels or the Record labels terminate the existing contract that they have with their artistes.
Failed expectation
Most artistes dump their record label when what they expect from the label is not commensurate to what they ultimately get from it. On the other hand the company can also terminate the contract when the artistes in focus do not live up to their expectation.
According to Barrister Akinyemi, most artistes get frustrated when they don’t see the record label they signed to doing much for them. He said, “Most of the time, it centres on the expectation on either the part of the artiste or the owner of the Record label. If the record label does not live up to the expectation of the musician, say in three year, they promise him or her an album and a concert tour to follow but the label does not live up to the promise, this can make the artiste to leave the record labels and you can see a lot of this happening in our music industry.
“Another issue from the point of the musician is when you are not promoting my music; you are not ensuring my productions are coming out in commensurate to what the artiste feels he can offer. This can cause the artistes to walk out on his existing contract because he feels another company can offer him what he desires.”
Lack of trust
Like all business deals, lack of trust between either parties or more naturally lead disengagement. Sometimes the label may have one artiste that generates money and that may make them nonchalant and less interested in the fostering and development of other artistes on the label. That will definitely become a problem eventually for the label and see protests from the neglected artistes.
Entertainment lawyer, Barrister Akinyemi elaborating on this noted that record labels ought to help the artiste to develop before moving to the next level. “It behooves the recording label to help the artistes to realize his potentials before moving to the next level. Some recording labels and doing just fine but some can be said to be reaping of their talented artistes and this breeds lack of trust which in turn causes conflict that makes a musician to leave his record label or seek to terminate his recording contract due to one reason or the other “, he noted
The Issue of Money
With more money comes more problems, another factor, loyalty and money and inversely proportional to each other, and with the kind of money the Industry generates now, its quite hard for an Artiste to remain loyal to a label that doesn’t generate money for him, all in all, different factors have led to this, and I think it’s going to happen more and more in years to come.
Akinyemi says that an artiste who feels cheated would dump his label for another. “The major issue confronting many record labels in Nigeria is the issue of money and how much, the artiste is suppose to make from his work and this is based on the pre-existing contract if there is any. If an artiste feels being cheated, he may get to the point that he has no choice than to walk out of the record label that he or she is involved with.
On the other side, the record label can deem it fit to terminate the contract with the musician if they have a reason to doubt his loyalty to the company like any corporate firm. This happens a lot in our music industry and the onus is on the artiste to be loyal to his or her record label as long as she is bound to an existing contract with the label.

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