Law & Policy, Music Business

Jude Okoye Claims Role as “Hard Nose” Manager + How to Negotiate Artist-Manager Contracts (Artist)

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I love people that are uninterested in appeasing, kissing up to or trying to change their essence to fit in or make people happy. Basically people who match to their own beat are such a turn on for me.  Hmmm . . . I wonder why? In any event, Jude Okoye, brother and manager for P-Square, speaks to Factory 78 about being a manager and drops a few tips. After you watch it, get the 411 on how to negotiate Artist-Manager contracts from the artist angle, below.


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In this article, I conclude the two part series on “How to Negotiate an Artist-Manager Contract.” This time, the focus is on the artist negotiating the Artist-Manager (music manager) contract. Artists, beyond making sure your manager has experience, solid negotiation skills (critical), a strong network, is relevant in the industry and can deliver, here are a few things to note when negotiating any kind of Artist-Manager contract:

Be careful who you get in bed with:” See my Artist-Manager (The Manager)  article for an analysis on this point. The Artist-Manager relationship is a very intimate one, almost like a marriage. Make sure your values and personalities align and are compatible.

Know Yourself & Have a Vision for your Career: Artist, before you sign an Artist-Manager contract, make sure you truly know yourself as a personal brand and as a business. What is your vision for yourself as an artist? What are your values? How much are you willingly to compromise to be successful? Communicate your vision and personal brand/values to your manager and be clear on how he intends to create added value to you as a brand and how he will communicate this added value to the world.

Understand your Music Manager’s role: Your music manager helps guide your music career. His job includes advising on your career moves, helping with bookings and promotions, negotiating business deals and recording contracts among many duties. Many times, however, with emerging artists, music managers end up taking on multiple roles. Your music manager may become your business manager (handling your music business and its finances), tour manager (organizing your music tours), your personal manager (shopping, dry cleaning, ironing, cooking, scheduling your appointments) etc. Be clear on what role he is playing.

Amend your Contract When Manager’s role changes: If your music manager now wears an added hat as your personal manager, you have two choices: a) draft a new contract reflecting the new relationship; or b) modify the existing contract to include the new role. State in your contract the parties can amend to reflect changing roles in the original contract you sign. A quick think on Personal manager roles in Naija.

As Nigerians we come from a society that uses a lot of househelps. We typically don’t think highly of our househelps and can be highly disrespectful and abusive to these individuals. If you are an artist who signed a contract with a music manager and now your music manager goes beyond the scope of the contract and begins to do things for you much like your “Omo odo,” that is NOT a license to make him feel less than a human being. Appreciate and RESPECT him. “Pay am im money” and be grateful you have someone you can trust that is willing to go such extra miles to make you successful.

Revisit Fee Clauses in 4-6months: Because of the nature of the music business and changing or added roles a manager can have, artists and managers, think of drafting in your contract under your pay clause, a language that allows all parties to revisit the pay terms within 4-6months of signing of the contract.

Determine your Manager’s Fees? There are many income streams of which managers want to get paid these days. These streams of income include: your tours, album sales, label advances, record royalty fees, licensing (tv, film) and merchandizing (t-shirts, hats, shoes) deals. Some managers even want a cut when they never negotiated some of your deals. Think this through and remember the many people you have to pay in the business to determine how much you will pay your manager. A typical manager fee can range from 15% – 20% of your gross earnings.

Limit travel expenses: Still on the “owo” part, while your manager will generally have more music industry experiences than you the artist, it does not translate to him living like he is “poppin’ sham pain eferi day.” You hired the manager i.e. he works for you not the other way around. Accordingly, your manager should be accountable for any and all expenses spent on your behalf. Your contract should provide a schedule for when you should be receiving invoices, records and itemizations (line by line expenses) of anything your manager spends on your behalf to help your career.For example, if your manager spent ₦70,000  for a plane trip from Lagos to Abuja to negotiate for your performance at Thisday Festival, then there should be a record and receipt for such travel expense.

In the same vein, your manager is not entitled to VIP services and status. Staying in five star hotels or traveling only in business or first class is a sure way to get you bankrupt. You are the star not the other way around. Your manager is NOT entitled to the finer things in life while you dey suffer, at your expense. Limit the travel expenses and make it clear in the contract there is no “yafun yafun” spending.

Make sure you have granted ONLY a Limited Power of Attorney: Managers are allegedly notorious for screwing artists over. Protect yourself. Only grant a limited power of attorney, no more, no less. Your manager should not have unfettered discretion to sign your life away. While you don’t want to hinder your manager’s job, consider adding a clause to your contract that your manager gets your written consent before any major deals (define what you consider major) are signed.

Limit your Liability: Your contract should protect you if your manager’s actions expose you to liability. Managers with a power of attorney might think they can sign your life away. Step on the brakes of “I can sign any contract on her behalf” with a clause that makes it clear they can’t and in the event they do and wahala (problem) dey, then they are solely liable. Typically, this should include what is called an ‘indemnity clause’ where you are essentially shifting the risk as indicated above to your manager for intentional and unintentional acts that cause liability or damages to third parties. If you can afford a lawyer, your lawyer will know what this is. If you can’t afford one, keep things simple by always clearly stating your intent.

What is an example of how you could be on the hook for the negligent unintentional or intentional acts of your manager? Assume in the Calabar Carnival example I gave in the Artist-Manager (The Manager) article, you made it clear that you were already committed to a different gig in Lagos and cannot perform in Calabar. Your manager, however, could not resist the ₦10million offered for your 30min performance in Calabar, so he signs a contract saying you will be there. If you don’t show up and stuff hits the fan, your manager should be solely liable for all that katakata and monies owed, not you.

Be Non-Exclusive: If you are an artist in Naija looking to get into the Yankee market, it might make sense to limit the geographic reach of your manager who represents you in Naija to Naija only. Negotiate an exclusive contract specific to Naija and a non-exclusive contract outside of Naija. It means you can find another manager in Yankee who knows the Yankee music market well and has the much needed connections to represent you. Even within Naija, if your manager has solid contacts and resources only in Lagos, for example, then limit his representation to Lagos, if it makes sense to do so.

Alright, enough for today. Now go make it happen!

NOTE: Disclaimer- this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with me, as with every article on my site. If  you want me to represent you for your legal matters, you need to contact my office directly to set up a legal consultation. Click my contact page on AML website to see how to get in touch with me.

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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.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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1 Comment

  1. O'Briel says:

    am an upcoming artiste please help me this is my profile my nickname O’Briel native of imo state an orphan livs with my elder bro who is 20yrs old n am 16yrs old i can rap very well please please please help me and GOD will help you this is my ymail account name michaeljamie18@yahoo.com my 2go username myckhirl my facebook username OBriel thank you please dont let me waste my talent.

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