Hi, hello! Hope you had a splendid past week? One which has been awash with a controversial contract case involving an artist or erstwhile artist with the record label G-Worldwide. We all are familiar with the name Kiss Daniel, who over the time has been consistent in the Nigeria music scene with most recent hits like Yeba and Do.
On the 17th day of November 2017, some legal claims were made against the person of Kiss Daniel through a suit titled FHC/L/CS/1758/2017 brought before a FHC sitting in Lagos.
While I can’t give a solid conclusion to this or a well-grounded statement as I haven’t seen the contract papers, I do find it extremely difficult to believe that an artist like Kiss Daniel would decide to wake up one morning and terminate his already and been in existence contract which shot him to the limelight. I mean he has the resources to hire the best of lawyers to come to his rescue.
The industry standard for music label contracts is a 3-year deal, which is highly advisable and like M.I Abaga said “no one knows who would blow or not’’. So a 3-year deal saves both parties lots of resources especially when an artist hasn’t recouped the label’s investment.
I mean this is a risky investment, take a look as Skales who while he was in EME label according to some sources barely made a dime’s worth for them till he left, and now he is bankable. When a label signs you for say 7 years and by the 5th if you haven’t recouped their investments, they would be at the losing end and would be regretting such a deal. So what I always advice is a 3-year deal or at most 4-year with an option to renew.
It looks debatable, but it is always advisable you seek an entertainment lawyer, not a wholly specialized property lawyer who barely has knowledge of the industry.
Now, that clause, I am very familiar with it, as it protects the artist from fraud on the part of the label. Well, gone are the days Nigerian artists would be famous without fortune. The law doesn’t encourage such outright termination of a contract which means that Kiss’ lawyers must have written to GWW to provide a proper accounting record for auditing and if they refused, they must have still written them giving them a grace period as the contract stipulates after which they can now rightly write a letter notifying them of the breach and the consequences that follow suit.
It is a Latin phrase which literally means that the parties should return to their former position before the war or hostilities.
It will cost you less to engage the services of a good lawyer before engaging in any documented agreement than to bring you out of a problem later on. Like my former principal would always say “…a lawyer’s job is to prevent you from entering legal problems rather than bringing you out”. I hope with these few points, some light has been shed on the importance of seeking a legal hand with matters that involve the signing of contracts for recording, licensing, publishing and distribution deals in the music industry.
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Until next week, warm regards from your favorite showbiz Lawyer. Chestnut out!