Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”- Martin Luther King.

Signing a record deal is a significant moment in every artiste’s career. Perhaps, it is a dream come true. A door to stardom. However, this fulfilling moment may veer to the artiste’s worst nightmare if care is not taken. Why do we say so?  

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice that is too expensive to make. It is against this backdrop that the writer seeks to expatiate on recording contracts, commonly known as record deals, whilst highlighting the indispensable need tocontact a lawyer before signing one.

What is a recording contract?

A recording contract (often referred to as a record deal ) is an agreement between a record label or record company and a recording artiste whereby the artiste undertakes to record songs for the record label with a corresponding obligation on the label to sell and promote the songs recorded. Just like any other contract, recording contracts are binding and enforceable.

The recording contract covers the detailed terms of their relationship. These include copyright, payment, royalties, promotion, sale, and distribution, etc. Depending on the nature and scope of the intended relationship, recording contracts can be too broad and complex for the artist to discern and comprehend.  Also, they are usually drafted by crafty lawyers to the utmost gain of the record label. Notable clauses are the Release Commitment Clause, Opt-out Clause, 360 Deals, Royalties Sharing, Term and Exploitation period, etc. Hence, it takes a master to decipher a master.

Why do you need a lawyer?

There is no gainsaying that an average African takes pride in being able to perform tasks without external help. The doityourself” (DIY) mentality. DIY behaviour is often exhibitedwhen one is trying to save costs that would have otherwise beenspent on hiring professionals and experts. Whilst DIY may help in some areas, it is however not advisable…