According to reports, the late singer’s dispute with the label began when he sought to change his manager. It development was also linked to issues related to royalties and alleged unfriendly working environment.
Like Mohbad, top artistes such as D’banj, Wizkid, Harry Song, Runtown, Cynthia Morgan, Brymo, Kizz Daniel and the likes, have experienced artiste-label disputes in the past.
Accusations of exploitation and neglect typically accompany their departure from these labels. As they say, “all that glitters is not gold.”
Therefore, as juicy as a record label deal may seem, there are crucial factors to deeply consider in order to avoid regret in the long run.
1. Do your research: Conduct your research; don’t remain in the dark. Learn about the label’s history and its relationship with past artistes. Ensure they align with your music genre and look out for any shady associations. If possible, try to gain a trusted insider’s perspective.
2. Review your contract: Even after a positive result from a background check, a bad contract could be a deal breaker. Read your contracts thoroughly, and then enlist the services of a lawyer, preferably an entertainment lawyer (not the label’s lawyer), to explain the contract’s contents. They should detect any loopholes that could put you at a disadvantage. A bad contract could result in financial exploitation, forfeiture of the rights to your songs, difficulty in exiting, or, in extreme cases, loss of creative control and death. So, read, read, and understand before putting pen to paper.
3. Check the benefits: Assess what you gain from the deal and consider if you can achieve those goals independently. Remember, this is a business, and everyone is out to make a profit.
4. Protect your brand: Trademark your logo and register a copyright for your name. Many artists have been forced to adopt new identities and branding after failed contracts. This will protect you from that pitfall.
5. Evaluate your team: Assemble a competent team, consisting primarily of a lawyer, PR expert, manager and booking agent. Ensure that they have the expertise required for their respective roles. Don’t leave things to chance, as their mistakes could mar your career.
6. Join professional associations: This might not be top on the list, but it would really help to take advantage of the protection a professional association provides you with. Association with other artistes especially senior colleagues would give you an insight into what to expect from your label and in the music industry.
7. Invest in yourself: Do not wait for a record label to be your light. Seek self-improvement, build your brand and grow your fanbase. Leverage on social media and technology in developing your music career.