The buzz across the internet, this evening, is the fact that Akon has signed Wizkid of EME Records, one of Nigeria’s leading music labels, to his label. In return, EME has brokered a deal that will benefit EME as a label. Insiders know EME is not playing. They definitely bring a healthy competition to the likes of Chocolate City, Storm Records, Kennis and serious independent label contenders as they continue to raise the bar. An excerpt below follows:
EME label boss, Banky W confirmed the news to NET via E-mail correspondence.
According to the EME camp, the Konvict contract is to run alongside the popstar’s original EME contract. The length of the deal is not specified.
The paperwork which was signed this week is a Joint venture- partnership between EME and Konvict and will produce and release Wizkid worldwide. ‘Press conferences will still be held in Nigeria and the US in the near future’ according to Banky who’s the chairman of EME.
In addition, ‘EME will now act as Konvict’s official rep in Africa and will run the African arm of the label’s operations. This includes standard offices, management, studios, production, A&R and provision of more artistes to launch under this partnership.
‘Wiz is the first act to be launched under this agreement, but provision has been made for EME and will continue to build acts that achieve enough buzz to also launch on the same platforms’, Bankyfinally added.
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM AKON’S DEALINGS WITH SARKODIE ET AL.?
The obvious question here is, how is this deal different from prior Akon dealings with artists of Wizkid’s caliber including Sarkodie? We have seen what Akon can do with the likes of T-Pain and Lady Gaga. However, when it comes to Asia (can anyone say Se7ven)and Africa (Sarkodie), he seems to stumble. So, how is this different? P-Square does not count in this equation as the deal brokered by P-Square and Akon have nothing to do with the daily operations and profit sharing scheme mentioned above.
Some important deal points that might signal a true partnership and great leverage of both legal entities to make Wizkid a worldwide phenomenal are as follows:
- Konvict contract runs alongside EME contract- This shows an equal footing in terms of negotiated deal between the two. EME continues to manage Wizkid in the African market. Konvict manages Wizkid in the USA, Europe and Asian markets. Clearly, both brands will be working very closely for the actual ultimate representation of the Wizkid image and brand.
- Joint Venture and Partnership to Release Wizkid worldwide- This clearly shows a distribution deal. When we begin speaking of “worldwide” representation, we cut to the chase on what that means. In this instance, it has to be the ability of Akon to market and sell Wizkid worldwide. Wizkid already comes prepackaged so it is more about distributing his music, merchandising, tours, campaigns, endorsement deals on a global level as opposed to just Africa.
- EME will manage all aspects including the daily operations of Konvict Music in Africa: This is a major one that shows Akon is vested in this deal and has a lot to lose should it go wrong. It is a very intimate relationship to have EME manage and run the Akon brand, down to daily operations. Akon needs EME from a distribution stand point in Africa. EME needs Akon, also from a distribution standpoint in the USA, Europe and Asia. This part of the contract makes both tied to the hip, long term, even though the reported story is silent as to the duration of the agreement.
- Provision has been made to launch other EME artists on Akon’s platform: This is final showing that Akon’s deal with Wizkid’s EME and EME could be remarkably different and a success story when compared to his prior attempts. This is also a deal where if the parties renege and the relationship deteriorates, the legal battle would be vicious. Hopefully, the termination clause on both sides was carefully drafted.
Congratulations to both camps. We will wait to see how the new relationship plays out. Africa is the future. Expect American labels to begin eyeing Nigeria, in particular.
Photocredit: TCD Photography