Music Business

Did IROKO Just Rebrand ‘United Sounds of Africa’ to ‘IROKING USA TOUR?’ #SponsorshipAgreements


What is wrong with the picture above?  We know there is an ongoing United Sounds of Africa USA Tour. We know IROKO and seven other brands including Arik Airline and Chocolate City are sponsors of the U.S.A Tour. We also know seven artists have been billed to perform, of which two: TuFace and M.I Abaga are headliners for the event. So, why has IROKO decided to do what amounts to rebranding of the event with its “IROKOING USA TOUR?”

Iroko uses pictures of all seven artists in its video graphics.

Iroko uses USA’s  colors.

Iroko substantially highlights text amplifying the IROKO brand to the point where the USA part is lost, especially on the video clip, thumbnails etc. circulating online. It becomes as if IROKO is the one putting on the USA Tour.

The United Sounds of Africa is an event allegedly organized by LIVE Nation and Interglobe Entertainment. So what’s this attempt, whether intentionally or un-intentionally, to just usurp the whole event and make it an ‘IROKOING USA TOUR?”

Event Organizers & Sponsors, here are a few things to note when you sign a sponsorship agreement.


  1. Careful who you get in bed with: Do your due diligence and make sure goals are aligned.
  2. Retain any and all control over your trademarks i.e. your logos, colors, phrases etc. Give limited permission for use of your trademark to carry out necessary obligations.
  3. Where your logo/trademark will be used, (make sure the parties) get approval before use.
  4. Don’t forget your indemnification clause – get a lawyer if you do not know what this is.
  5. Pay attention to distribution – IROKO’s video will get a lot of play time on You Tube. The way IROKO has  rebranded the United Sounds of Africa tour to  IROKING USA TOUR is not in the least helpful. The United Sounds of Africa Tour is supposed to be longterm, which means more sponsors with better terms in future, may emerge. One sponsor should not usurp both your event and undermine the goal of your event, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
  6. If the sponsor is a title sponsor i.e. donates the most cash/money, delineate the terms of agreement; and let all marketing and promotional materials reflect that.
  7. Get your releases for images you use. Unauthorized use of photos constitutes copyright  infringement of the photographer’s copyrights.
  8. For tours on USA soil, be sure you visit your lawyer to draft appropriate legal agreements to protect you from liabilities that may arise while on the tour.
  1. Be careful who you get in bed with: Do your due diligence.
  2. Maintain any and all control of your trademarks. See 2-3 above.
  3. Negotiate visibility on any and all promotional materials, including videos.
  4. Don’t forget your indemnification clause – get  a lawyer if you do not know what this is.
  5. If you are a title sponsor, state what you want but careful not to usurp the event.
  6. Be mindful of the overall ethos and purpose of the event you sponsor. It is not about YOU. You can exist, create goodwill within your community and increase profits without usurping the event you sponsor.
  7. Get a lawyer to draw up your agreements.
I think Jason Njoku & IROKO , individually and collectively,  need to hire experienced and competent Publicists who can handle and manage their image in the public.
Within the Nigerian community, they can start with Yetunde Taiwo of ICY PR and/or  Bobby Taylor of Bobby Taylor PR who have handled both fashion and entertainment clients. These ladies are professional at what they do and they “get” it.

Business of Music North Africa Roundtable

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
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