Greetings AML people. This week has been quite interesting hasn’t it.?We saw eLDee sign rapper Eva to IMAN-Trybes Records. eLDee has pioneered the movement to help give Nigerian female artists a voice in the industry. He did so almost a decade ago when he took a chance on Sasha P who is now signed to Obi Asika’s Storm 360. Sasha P went on to win Kora’s Most Promising Artist Award in 2004, among many subsequent accolades. Now, he adds yet another promising young act Eva, in addition to other female acts on his roster. Indeed his efforts should be applauded in the industry.
We need the help of our women like Emem, Bobby Taylor, Toni Payne and the help of our men like eLDee, Obi Asika, Don Jazzy, JJC, among others, to help with this movement that empowers our young women. Our young women entering the industry should feel good about themselves and should have access to succeed, on their talents and merits, rather than their bodies. If all of that fails i.e. people just want to block road for women to be successful in the industry, y’all already know “how I does it.” We go mobilize our women and we will be relentless in using all tools available to make sure our women take it “by force, by force.” So, let’s all work together, shall we? 🙂
Moving on . . ., this week, we also saw the heavy promotion and publicity generated for Wizkid’s UK tour. We saw P-Square ink a distribution deal with Universal Music Group South Africa; and finally, Sinzu, D’Banj and Lynxxx continue with promotions of their music in the UK and Ghana respectively.
For the Wizkid and P-Square stories, I hope to carve out time very soon to discuss how to create the kind of buzz Wizkid has; and finally take on distribution deals, digital distribution and what exactly the P-Square signing means.
In the meantime, for all the great stories and more we have heard coming from Nigeria’s music industry, it is all meaningless if, at the end of the day, we do not have a solid legal foundation.
Think of it as making a meal. Regardless of the amazing ingredients you plan to put in your meal, you need a pot to cook the meal and a plate to dish out the meal so you can enjoy it and share with others. When it comes to the business of music and the music industry, the law is that pot and/or plate that you need. The ingredients you plan to combine to make your meal is your music.
Necessarily, you must have the law when you do music. Indeed, as I have discussed before on AML, the heart of the business of music is all about the right to copy i.e. copyright. When “right” is attached to a word, it triggers the law.
As an industry, we can’t really flourish unless we take care of the critical and important legal foundation. This is where my headline on this post comes into play. As you all know or should know, Nigeria already has its Federal Copyright Act. I think the Act, having looked at it carefully, is a bit archaic especially when compared to USA Copyright Law and that of neighboring country Ghana. We are in the 21st century and our laws should accommodate both traditional and innovative ways of creating and selling our intellectual property.
Nigerian entertainment lawyers Audu Maikori and Yahaya Maikori understand this and their law firm, Law Allianz, has been selected by The Nigerian Copyright Commission to help with a comprehensive review of a proposed amendment to the existing Federal Copyright Act.
I can’t think of a better group of persons, in Nigeria, to handle this huge task than these men, especially given their direct industry experience as record label executives of Chocolate City Group. Nevertheless, they can’t do it on their own. They need our help. They realize that and have reached out to me to get to you all so we can really make this happen. Below is an excerpt from Yahaya’s email sent to me:
The Nigerian Copyright Commission has appointed our firm to facilitate a wholesome review of copyright draft amendment bill.
Our TOR includes calling for memoranda from concerned stakeholders, (I) believe as an entertainment lawyer and online publisher you represent an important constituency.
We will appreciate if you can upload the draft bill on your website as well as mobilise people to send their responses. . .”
AML people, Needless to say, this is a no brainer.
First congratulations to Audu Maikori and Yahaya Maikori and their law firm Law Allianz. Second, here is how I’d like to do this:
For Nigerian Music Industry Professionals
AML Nigerian music industry professionals i.e: artists, song writers, music producers, labels, radio station owners, promoters, film directors etc., please review the bill attached at the end of this post. When you do, don’t concern yourself with the legalese i.e. the legal language. That is what Yahaya and Audu are there for. Just focus on the issues you have faced in creating your music. Write and then send them to Yahaya and Audu at the email address at the end of this post (firstname.lastname@example.org).
So, for example, AML Nigerian artists, if every radio station you solicit to play your songs tells you that you have to pay them and you do not believe it is right for them to do so, write Audu and Yahaya and let them know. If hotels, restaurants etc. play your music but you never get compensated, write and let them know. If you never did business with MTN but you hear them advertising your ring tones for sale and you have never received one dime, write and let them know.
In short, write about all of the real challenges you face in the industry in creating your music then share with them. They will convert it into legal language. You get the drift?
NOTE: Please do NOT send them emails saying you do not have any money or asking for a record deal. This is NOT what this is about.
For Legal Colleagues in the Music & Creative Industries
For my fellow entertainment law colleagues reading this, I’d really love to have you all carve out a minute of your time to read the attached bill and provide feedback to Audu and Yahaya. Please send to the email listed at the end of this post (email@example.com). I’d appreciate it if you also cc’ed me on it (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you all!
CLICK ON LINK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD HIGHLIGHTS OF THE COPYRIGHT DRAFT BILL:
PLEASE EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS TO LAW ALLIANZ:
Learn more about Audu Maikori and Yahaya Maikori
- AML 150: Mental Health & Substance Abuse in the Afrobeats Music Industry
- AML 149: Intellectual Property, Race and Unjust Music Contracts with Prof. Kevin J. Greene
- AML 148: The Business of Music in Ethiopia with Negus Alemu & Leyla Konjo
- AML 147: Meet Temi Adeniji, MD Warner Music South Africa & SVP, Strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa
- AML 146: Women in “Afrobeats” Music – Eva Alordiah, Weird MC, Joy Tongo