Business

#Gbagbeoshi (Forget the nonsense): Davido still has a problem with the handling of his brand post Sony deal

I think it is pretty safe to say most of Africa wants to see Davido succeed. The question, however, is does Davido want to see Davido succeed? If the answer is “yes,” then we have to ask what kind of position did Davido place himself when he signed his music deal earlier this year with Sony? Did he really think through what he signed, understand the deal terms and accompanying restrictions?

I pose these questions because Davido’s actions and public statements remain inconsistent with the deal terms it seems he signed. He consistently makes promises to fans when it is clear he no longer has the power to make such promises, much less fulfill them in the way and time he claims. At this point, Davido has to accept that he is no longer his own CEO/Boss, and must align his actions and promises with that of those he gave his power to, Sony/RCA.

If you have followed my writings on this topic, then you know I’ve asked what the deal is with the marketing and promotion of Davido as a brand, including his EP after several unfulfilled promises by Davido to his fans. If you recall, Davido, post signing of his music deal with Sony, promised an EP album. He, unfortunately, was unable to deliver. Arguably, no big deal. Things happen. Delays in album releases are common in the industry, especially for artists signed with larger labels stateside.

However, after a long wait (11months), on September 30, 2016, Davido finally satisfies the desires of his fans by releasing the cover art for his long awaited EP and a single off the album titled ‘Gbagbe oshi.” Gbagbe oshi means forget the nonsense and we see Davido tap into the dancehall reggae trend in the song, but still keep it very Davido. Davido as part of the release, also promised his fans they will never have to go that long without hearing his music again.

A few days later, he dropped the audio-visuals for the single to Gbagbe oshi. However, there is ONE big problem. The video which was uploaded on You Tube on a newly created Davido VEVO channel is restricted and can only be viewed in certain countries. This means millions of his fans, particularly in the west, are given a warning saying, “this video is not available in your country” when they try to view it.

Who uploaded the video? From the copyright notice accompanying the uploaded video, it appears Sony Music Entertainment.

Why is the video restricted from being played in the west? If you recall Davido told the public that when he signed his deal with Sony, he was clear they couldn’t touch Africa, but all other territories/geographic regions were up for grabs. Sony, it appears, may be exercising its right. Meaning, to market and promote Davido in the best light they deem fit and avoid any conflict with their vision, they allegedly may be limiting the video to certain African countries, at least for now.

This clearly brings up another issue. If Sony approved the cover art for the EP album, the release of the single Gbagbe oshi and the video, why not have a globally orchestrated release of the music video for Gbagbe oshi? Why have some in Africa view the video and millions of existing Davido fans in the west unable to?

The answer to the aforementioned question, in my view, goes to the heart of why I believe Davido still has a problem with the handling of his brand. Davido and Sony/RCA’s vision for Davido’s brand is not quite aligned and it shows in their execution. While they sort it out, what Davido has to ensure is he doesn’t lose his existing fans in the process.

-Ms. Uduak

Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website, livestream and podcast show empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through its brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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