A contract is a legally binding agreement which spells out the rights and obligations of the parties to the agreement and is intended to be enforceable by existing and applicable laws. The two types of Contract are: Oral and Written. For the purpose of this article, we shall be looking at Written Contract as it is the prevailing type in the Entertainment Industry in Nigeria.
Due to the nature and implications of entering into a Contract, it is pertinent to note that any party intending to go into an agreement, contract, etc. should have the answer to these questions and more at the back of his or her mind:
• What considerations should guide contracting parties when entering into binding entertainment agreements?
• What are the red flags?
• What fundamental terms should the parties look out for?
• Are the terms in my best interest?
• When is it appropriate to just walk away?
• Will these terms allow me to walk away when it doesn’t favour me?
Guided by the responses to these above listed concerns, I hope that at the end of this article, stakeholders would be better equipped going forward in dealing and engaging in contracts seamlessly. For the purpose of this article which will be divided into 2 parts, we shall be illustrating with the Music sector of the entertainment industry.
Creative minds are the pillar of the Nigeria entertainment industry; it is very disheartening to learn of how several talented artistes have entered into contracts perceived to be unfavourable, oppressive and unfair. This must be juxtaposed with the position of producers and record labels which is always high handed and exploitative. The irony of it all is that these artistes not only enter into those contracts with their eyes open, they also fail to recognize that investments made by these record labels and producers need to be recouped and returns on them maximized. Hence, the need to exploit the artistes which then leads inexorably to legal battles between artistes and their management, a battle they both could have avoided.
Artistes who have fallen victim at one point or the other will come up with the excuse that they signed these contracts at a point when they were hungry for fame and have little or no cash thereby selling their soul and mortgaging their future and career. This excuse makes them vulnerable and they become a prey to the managers and record labels alike.
……to be continued