Rising star Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade aka Mr. Eazi, a Ghana based Nigerian artist, recently set the record straight on his music deal with Wizkid during an interview with a local Ghanaian radio station. Mr. Eazi also made clear he understands his value and is strategically positioning his brand for the inevitable windfall in “Afrobeats” music globally. Highlights of his interview follow:
- Contrary to Wizkid’s announcement last year, Mr. Eazi did not sign a record deal with Wizkid’s label, Starboy Worldwide. What he has with Starboy is a partnership where he enjoys the use of the Starboy name to expand his global reach, among other benefits. “We all came together and said let’s come up with a platform, Starboy Worldwide, and our aim is to take the music to the world. Starboy Worldwide is a collective organization specifically to push African music worldwide.”
- He has been offered numerous record deals worth millions of dollars, but he has turned them all down because he sees there is growth in the genre and he is strategic about his positioning. “I’ve gotten record deal offers going into millions of dollars and I’ve not signed”
- He is the second best selling artist from West Africa next to Wizkid. “I don’t mean to brag but in the past one year in West Africa, I’ve been the second best selling artist on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal … the second best next to Wizkid.”
- His music is played in the mainstream in the UK, next to Wizkid’s.
- His focus is set on the global music market even though his songs are also performed and enjoyed in Africa.
I have said I believe Mr. Eazi is brilliant, has his business head intact and has a strong team behind him. I see him going really far. I do think, however, that the way Wizkid made his announcement about his relationship with Mr. Eazi was misleading. Also, when the story of his “signings” went viral, Wizkid never corrected it. He let the media and public believe these were artists he brokered traditional record deals with.
The African music industry and its practitioners need to get to a place where they can announce the kind of deals they get into like any other western music market especially where recording deals are concerned, without unnecessarily hoarding the information. Saying they have a joint venture deal, distribution deal or whatever type of recording deal they got into, from the onset, would not diminish Wizkid’s image in the public. If anything, it would attract more deal making and strengthen Starboy’s positioning.
With the way Wizkid made the announcement about these artists, it creates expectations that Wizkid did not appear to be meeting as a record company. In addition, it’s a time “waster” to have the individual partners have to clarify the deal or explain themselves.
Wizkid’s annoucement last year
Watch his interview starting at 7:13 mark (English part).
Mr. Eazi’s Detty World Tour 2017 – Rwanda
New music – Tillapia
Choreography by a dance group in LA #Nigerianmusicgoingglobal
Photo Credit: Mr. Eazi FB Fanpage
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