Given the rising impasse and unhealthy divorce between record labels and artists US-based Nigerian record label boss of Monkey Media House Records, popularly known as MMH Records and TRONIQ Incorporation, Godfrey Eguakun, a mechanical engineer and businessman, has given some tips on what an artist should bear in mind before signing the recording contract, that may very well change the course of the career of the artist.
While admitting there are not set rules or pitfalls to look out for, he advised that the artist l ask himself what really wants.
“There is no standard rule or standard terms to consider before signing a recording contract, but just like getting a new job, I think a few things they should ask themselves is; does this contract allow me to express myself creatively? Is there room for growth and development in this contract? Does this contract allow me explore new markets and genres of music? Is this contract the end goal or a means to an end goal? Does the goal within the provisions of the contract align with my career goals? Is the contract what can be considered a slave-contract? What are the exit terms and provisions of the contract? The artist also needs to ask themselves administrative questions like; can this record company finance their marketing need? Does this company have other talents and how successful have these talents been? What is the overall reputation of the label Etc? At the end, is really about what the artist wants, what he is comfortable with and what is permissible within the laws of the artist recording contract,” he said in a chat with our reporter.
As an experienced records label boss with about five artistes signed under his two labels, he identified the provisions of the recording contract as the key factor responsible for disagreement between the two parties.
In his words; “ I think one of the bases of this divide between the record label and the artist has in a large way to do with the provisions of the artist recording contract. Over the past decades we have seen the artist contract evolves into what it is today in a bid to fit into the present reality of the music industry. However, the provisions of these ever-changing contracts is unable to keep up with the spontaneous change in the way music is being consumed and the way independent artists are continually having unprecedented access to resources to produce and market themselves on a global scale. These artists simply have resolved that they no longer need a record label to sell themselves, or in other words, the label needs to bring to the table something extraordinary for them to sign on to a recording contract. This is not to say artists don’t still actively and consciously chase after these record labels in the early stages of their career, but in the long run, they tend to realize “Hey, I can actually do this myself”.
He, however, maintains that either of the two-party is not to be blamed and that, they should consider each other’s interests to have a healthy relationship, proffering solution.
Hear him: “I think this conflict can be resolved by continuous overhaul and review of what we know today as the recording contract to introduce and adjust certain provisions that would be more flexible, more profitable and more favourable for all parties in the recording contract, in respect to the knowledge and technological advance we have in today’s music industry. However, the recording contract provisions between labels and artists aren’t the only reasons for the chaotic mess between label and artist in this age, but it is definitely a major problem that needs to be addressed. We need to have more open-book discussions between all the concerned stakeholders of what the recording contract should really be and what provisions should be allowed or disallowed in today’s present-day recording contracts. Labels should see artists more as partners to the business and vise versa.
Geofrey Eduakun is an Edo State indigene, born in Osogbo and currently lives in the United States. He’s a Mechanical Engineer by day working on jet engine designs and manufacturing and a businessman by night, managing and running multiple businesses. His Monkey Media House Records is an indie Record Label founded in 2017. Outside making and selling records, he does Talent Development, Talent Management, Artiste Promotions/Media Management and digital music distribution. His TRONIQ Inc, on the other hand, was founded in mid-2019, it’s a digital indie recording company, shaped around traditional models.
Eguakun has two notable artistes, Akaycentric and Kreatunez signed to his MMH and Oxlade to the TRONIQ label