Record labels should sue Nigerian artistes for contract violation- Sijuade Adedokun

An artiste manager talks about the lows of the Nigerian music industry.

Sijuade Adedokun is the President of the Association of Music Artiste Managers of Nigeria, AMAMN. He has managed music artistes such as Djinee, Ijeoma, Terry G and Nosa. Currently, he manages actor and singer, Gabriel Afolayan. He discusses the many issues confronting the Nigerian music industry and the role of the artiste manager in the budding industry.

PT: What are some of the aims and objectives of the AMAMN?

AMAMN was set up to bring artiste mangers under one roof and also to sensitize them on the ethics of the business. There are a lot of things we want to achieve; we want to open the eyes of our members who don’t understand the business. It’s a profession; people do this for a living and there is no school in Nigeria that teaches music/artiste management. Part of what we want to achieve is to partner with professionals in the industry.

PT: Payment of royalty by broadcast stations is a big issue in Nigeria, what is your association doing to ensure that royalty is paid to the artistes you manage?

Part of an artiste manager’s job is to protect the intellectual property of the artiste which brings us to who are we to work with and who not to work with. Recently, we partnered with Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON,(the body in charge of collection of copyright royalties and other intellectual properties for artistes) during the COSON WEEK . So basically they are the one we working with presently.

PT: Do you work with the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria, MCSN, too?

Well, it’s not like we are not working with them. When you say ‘working with them,’ it’s like there is a personal interest but this has nothing to do with personal interest. From what was published by the Federal Government, COSON was given the right to collect royalties for artistes, you understand, so we have to abide by the law. If COSON is the ones in charge of royalties’ payment and other things that pertain with artistes, we work with COSON, if it’s MCSN, we work with them. But the way it is now, we are working with COSON.

PT: Piracy is another big challenge facing the music industry, how is AMAMN helping to curb this menace?

Like you rightly said, it can only be curbed. You cannot stop piracy in Nigeria, it’s a common thing everywhere in the world and part of AMAMN’s system of curbing the menace is by sensitizing our members who in turn enlighten their clients- the artistes- on the various distribution networks currently available to them. Right now, technology has made distribution of music easy. There is Spinlet, iRoking and others. You get paid for your material and you can monitor sales.

Right now, artistes can’t give figures of their album sales. There are some artistes that put their work up on Twitter or other social media for you to download for free. You are not supposed to put you songs online for free, because you did not record it for free. We are now encouraging our members to go to these online music distribution agents. On Spinlet you can’t transfer a song you buy, that’s the way we want it to go. These are some of the ways we can curb although not stop piracy.

PT: Recently, a blog post by a radio on-air-personality, OAP, on “payola” (a system where artiste pay to get their songs/video played on radio and TV) caused a stir on Twitter and OAPs who collect outrageous amount of money or material things from artistes to get airplay where named. What is your association’s stand on “payola”?

This is another menace that can only be curbed. An upcoming artiste borrows money or uses his feeding allowance to record a song and to get airplay on radio a presenter is asking for N300,000. It’s very disheartening and our association has been trying to come up with something. It is affecting the artistes, the managers and even everyone working for the artiste. Very soon, we would be meeting with heads of media houses to talk with them over this issue because, we want to believe, the media heads don’t know about this practice. Payola is standard everywhere but the one we are practicing here is rip off not payola.

PT: Artistes have been known to quit their record labels/management companies despite the money invested in them, what role can AMAMN in preventing this?

With due respect to all artistes in Nigeria, they are very loyal when their career is about to kick off but immediately they have that slight fame, they start acting up. I read somewhere that Brymo announced that he was no longer with Chocolate City despite the fact that he is contracted to the label. I believe we as an association can only try and curb this by encouraging artistes’ managers and record labels to ensure they sign a proper contract with an artiste. If the artiste wakes up on the wrong side of his bed and starts misbehaving, you show him the contract. I think until a label or manager or management outfit charges an artiste to court then, things will go back to normal. When this begins to happen, no one will say I want to terminate my contract without following due process.

PT: What does it take to become a practicing artiste manager in Nigeria and member of AMAMN?

You need to register with AMAMN, because we can only step in when there is trouble between you and your artiste if you are a member. Then you as an artiste manager need to brand yourself. You must know what it means to be the face of an artiste. And less I forget, artiste managers are not booking agent, we don’t look for shows for artistes.

PT: But that’s what most artiste manager do currently.

Yes, like I said, our industry has few standards. Apart from artiste managers, there are road managers, stage manager, show promoters etc. but because it is Nigeria, one person- the artiste manager does everything. These are some of the issues we want to sensitize our members on. Artiste managers are also not personal assistants.

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