Think Before You Say ‘I Do’


Artiste/ Management relationship is like a marital one. I have seen music managers get seriously heartbroken after a severed business relationship with their artiste while some artistes are left feeling used and almost without anything. This is usually the case when there is no proper legal agreement or when there is lack of an adequate understanding between both parties. Also it could also be due to the fact that one party decided to breach the contract on ground. Above all, I find it most shocking to still find out that there are a lot of music artistes who proceed into music business relationship without requesting for a proper agreement.

A lot of new acts fall into the hands of management companies who don’t have the capability, resource, passion or desire to help them move their music and career forward

Like it’s done in some part of the world, just like a marital relationship, an artiste and co should do an agreement just like they do a pre-nup, before embarking on any major music business relationship.

So before you say I do to a record label or management deal, here are a few practical steps/factors to consider.

1. Let the terms and the duration of the contract be clearly stated to you. Let there be a clear list of expected tangible or deliverables during the agreed duration e. g how many records are you to have while with them? What and what are they providing for you to function effectively? etc

2. You fit read Greek?
That is what the average legal document looks like. So involve a lawyer who would understand the legal ‘jargons’ in this document that might determine the outcome of the next 3-5years of your music career.

3. Don’t let excitement block your reasoning. Don’t let sentiments affect your decision. Don’t be emotional about it; it’s your career we are talking about here. When it has to do with your career, its business. This is what you do and probably what you do for a living.

4. Take some time to reason it out, I mean ‘the offer’. Ask yourself; is this really what I want? Does this tally with my current dreams and aspirations? Are we on the same page?

5. Know your part and let them define theirs
Let them state in a clear language what their responsibilities are and define what yours are.

6. Sniff around and ask about this new management or record label.
What’s their track record? What’s the industry saying about them? If they’ve had artistes in the past, find out from them what it was like. This is so as to give you an idea of what you are going into and to also prepare yourself.

7. Check them out, do they really have what it takes? Check if they have the zeal. At most check if they have the resources and connections required to push an artiste of your caliber. Also find out what else they have that might be of great benefit to you.

Check if they are capable of doing what they claim they would do for the business relationship. If they have the resources and connection (at least some), check if they have the passion too. Do they really believe in you? Are they interested in your welfare and personal development or are the just out to milk you?

Spending all your money on latest wears and gadgets and putting money on promoting your music on radio is not all your music career is about. There are other things that you consider unimportant that can cause a major damage to your career if you are not careful- and that is a ‘bad agreement’.

Remember your music is an investment and you don’t want it to go down the drain due to some bad deal.

What is ‘written’ cannot be easily erased.

Get legal counsel. Talk to a lawyer. I can hook you up with a very badht one. Wonderful entertainment lawyer. Send me an email:

Get structure. Talk to music business consultant.
Get Music Business Advisory.

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Majorly for young/new music artistes in West Africa.