Many artists think that being signed under a record label is the surest way to make quick money,rise to fame and all the world has to offer. But they sometimes reluctantly or out of ignorance fail to understand there is more than that. Signing a contract is one thing while understanding the terms of the contract is another. I have witnessed messed career because of misunderstandings over a signed contract.
Harmonize had to do away with his 3 houses to raise hefty fee for breaching a contract at Wasafi. The Konde Gang CEO choked out a staggering Ksh.21 million. We saw how Otile Brown unceremoniously exited Dreamland Music Entertainment plus the drama of pulling down of his hits then. The saga that has been going on at EMB Records,Peter Blessing being the latest victim of the label. Lastly,not forgetting the GrandPa verses artists conflict. For instance,Kidis never got a penny from his Kamua Remix.
Today I highlight some key aspects for an artist to consider while joining a record label.
Terms & Conditions
It is important for an artiste to be taken through a sketch of how the label intends to put their brand out there.
Before being over the moon by good news of being signed,go thoroughly through the terms and conditions of the Recording Label that wants to sign you. Never sign those papers blindly.
Getting a lawyer to assist you understand the contract is an added advantage. For instance,Is it Audio and Video deal only or house rent,clothing,health insurance and security inclusive !
After a project is done under a record label,who retains the ownership of the song?
Music copyright has its own benefits,talk about royalties as an example. Your music might be used as sound track of a movie,who will be owner of the song.
How are the terms of revenue sharing? Who takes what and why. The percentage should be clearly shown? Some recording label out here take a big share on the revenue from a project than an artists,which is very wrong.
An artist should be informed how his/her brand will make money,and how it will be split.
Omae Lion advices one major issue. Duration of the contract being his number one priority. Signing a short term renewable contract helps to avoid future displeasures. If things work out,why not renew the contract? Why should you hurriedly sign a 10 year contract at a go?
Rapper Lang’ Katalang’ also shares outstanding tips about contract duration for any artist wishing to be signed under a record label.
The artiste should ask themselves the question whether its them who needs the label or the label needs the artiste more.This tends to raise issues like the strength of an artiste at the time the label is picking them up.
The two parties should have a common where they meet. And this will be clearly be shown in their respective vision.
For instance a label may forecast 3 months but an artiste sees themselves further in about 2 months without the label.
A record provides a team that you need to be where you want to be in probably a short period of time. It’s a give and take in the recording label issue. Remember someone has investment their resources in the label.
Ka Zote hitmaker airs his views on this.
Its important to know if the label already has enough resources to push an artiste to their peak or both the lable and the artiste will work towards pushing the brand.
So it’s business,and you are the business. What do you bring in ? Do you have the skills they need? As an artist you need to push hard to enjoy fruits of a being in a label.