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Opinion: Why A Record Label Should Not Be Blamed For A Musician's Downfall

I was reading online recently about how Cynthia Morgan claimed Jude Okoye scammed her while she was under his Record Label and May D led credence to her complaints about the Label not giving him his dues and generally cheating him off the good life he was supposed to enjoy as an Artiste. A lot of people immediately sympathized with these Artistes and rained Insults on Jude Okoye and every other record label out there for cheating Artistes. Many Artistes these days have made it a habit to always come on social media to blame the Record Label for stiffing them but is that really the truth? Let's delve into what goes on behind the Music Industry and explain why one Artiste is very rich and famous and the other one famous but broke.

A lot of people are very ignorant about how the Music Industry works. Free Music is everywhere you look today. Everyone can download music for free online from “ , etc”. You can listen to free music on any radio station you tune into all over Nigeria. You can watch free music videos on over 20 Music Channels. You can stream free video on YouTube, Spotify, Sound Cloud etc. If you like, you can go to music blog pages and download new music everywhere but the first question you should ask is “WHO IS PAYING FOR ALL THIS FREE MUSIC YOU ARE ENJOYING”? The answer is the Record Label. not the Artiste.

There is nothing like free music on radio or free music on Soundcity or free music in Nite clubs or free music on blog pages. Everything is paid for and subsidized by the Record label to push the Artiste. Do you know how much a Record Label would pay a radio station for you to actually like a song? Most of the songs you hum or sing to daily in your bathroom, cars, office, gym, classroom, kitchen, your couch and finally on your bed has been paid for heavily by the record label. When you tune into your favourite radio station, you hear a song at least 10/ 15 times a day for 1 full week. Automatically this song becomes a hit because you have reluctantly accepted the song in your head from day 1 and by day 7, it's one of your all-time favourite songs.

Do you think it’s by magic that a song from nowhere automatically becomes the flavour of the month and one of your favourite tracks of all time? No. Millions of Naira has been paid to that radio station to promote that song heavily for you to like it by the Record label. The Artiste only performed the song in the studio but the Record Label has to invest millions of Naira to make that song performed by the Artiste a hit so that it can recoup the money back and pay the Artiste from the profits and royalties obtained from promoting the song.

Without the Record Label, the Artiste is nothing. There is no difference between you singing in the bathroom for free and your favourite Artiste without the backing and funds invested in the Artiste. No Artiste alive who invests in himself without the backing of the Record Label has ever made money or profit except foolish fame and we all know fame alone does not pay the bills. The Record Label everyone loves to demonizes when an Artiste runs to Social media to rant and rave about is the only source of their fame, money and lifestyle. The best an Artiste can do is produce his own songs and sell the CDs in traffic. Goodluck to that Artiste turning into Wizkid in traffic or playing songs in beer parlours!!! grin

Coming back to May D and Cynthia Morgan. The Record Label owned by Jude Okoye gave them a contract. Everything about the survival and success of them is in that Contract. What they expected was for the Record Label to turn into their Surrogate Sugar Daddies to dash them money to buy range rovers, live in Lekki, wear exotic clothes, travel first class to every country on the planet to perform in concerts, shoot million Naira music videos in South Africa, stay in 5-star hotels, pay for their limousines, food, take care of their extended family and crew and pump millions of Naira into their account for just singing a song which they consider as a hit.

Cynthia Morgan and May D did not pay over 700 radio stations all over Nigeria to play their song. They did not pay all the Music channel VJs to play their song, they did not pay over 200 bloggers to tweet and write good reviews for their songs, they did not contribute to the cost of shooting the music video from the accommodation, plane tickets, paying video vixens, paying the music director and the crew, scouting for location and wardrobe, transportation, feeding, clubbing and shopping money for themselves, their family and crew. They did not pay for the popping of champagnes in the club to boost their image, pay Djs in Nite clubs to play artistes songs and loads of payments that Cynthia Morgan and May D did not spend a dime on to push and market the Artiste and song. The second question you should ask is “WHO IS PAYING FOR ALL THIS LIFESTYLE AND MARKETING”? Answer The Record Label.

Nobody wants to know where the money is coming from to push this glamourous lifestyle. We all want to see the Artiste driving a lovely car with beautiful women around him wearing fabulous clothes but this comes at a very heavy price. Every dime spent on the Artiste to push this song must be accounted for and recouped before Artiste is going to see a dime. The record Label is not Father Christmas and does not give a rat-ass about the Artiste. It is only interested in the profits and business part. If Record Label spends N5Million on you, it expects nothing less than N10 Million before the Artiste can start seeing some money. You don’t expect the Record Label to spend all that money on the Artiste and end up running at a loss. The Record label must recoup the money spent on Artiste from sales of Cds, concert tickets, shows, endorsements and a host of other mediums to balance their books before Artiste makes 10 kobo. If the label does not make a profit because of limited concert sales, Cds sales or poor show receipts, Label is not bound to pay Artiste a profit. Any agreement Label and Artiste has whether it's 50/50/ or 70-30 must first be offset from the initial amount Label has spent to promote the Artiste. It's not rocket science. It's not wickedness. It’s just business. That’s why it’s called show business. Why would you spend N10Million on a stranger and allow that money to disappear because you love his voice or how she looks?

That’s why the Record Label ALWAYS signs a contract with Artiste to specify all these things. 90% of musicians don’t read these contracts and if they do, they hurriedly sign it because they are already dreaming of the immediate fame coming to them and money to be advanced to them to buy a car, rent a house, shoot videos, pay for their clothes, hotels and up-keep. To them, it’s as if they have hit the lottery but unknown to them, all these money given to them is just an advance that must be deducted before they start seeing 10kobo in their account.

Have you noticed no Artiste has come out to complain about a Record Label and point to the section in the contract that the Record Label has breached? Never. They know they have no case so they come to the court of public opinion to rant to gain sympathy for their carelessness, greed, ignorance and apathy. They would never employ a music lawyer to comb over the fine details of the contract. They would never sit down to be prudent to receive small money at first to reap millions later. They want to live the Cubana high chief life now and when it goes bust, they expect the Record Label to bail them out. It would never happen.

Rather the Record Label sues them to court and ALWAYS WINS because at the end of the day the truth would always come out. If Jude Okoye was to sue Cynthia Morgan and May D, I bet my house, Jude Okoye would win over and over again because everything is in the contract which they signed. Jude Okoye owes them nothing apart from what they agreed would be the sharing formula after deducting all that was spent on them previously. The Record Label is not Sinzu Money; neither is it a Sugar daddy. It's an alternative bank. What it gives the Artiste, it takes back double. It’s just part of the business and only savvy, smart and intelligent Artistes understand this game. It's not about putting the microphone on your mouth, it's about having the brains to understand the music business.

Culled from Nairaland

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