Music Business

Mr. Eazi: “I’ve gotten record deal offers going into millions of dollars and I’ve not signed”

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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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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”
  3. 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.”
  4. His music is played in the mainstream in the UK, next to Wizkid’s.
  5. 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.

-Ms. Uduak

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

__________

Skintight

Remix

Choreography by a dance group in LA  #Nigerianmusicgoingglobal

Photo Credit: Mr. Eazi FB Fanpage

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website and podcast show 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.

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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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1 Comment

  1. Winston Balagare says:

    Where do I start with Mr. Eazi . . . small, small things popping in this interview. SMDH.

    1) First, they ALL led us to believe that they were signed to Wizkid. I guess it’s just part of the increasingly normal expectation to be deceived by your fellow African. And it was an unnecessary lie, too. Mr. Eazi was already buzzing heavy, and R2Bees/Efya have long been established as top tier acts from Ghana. That “signing” didn’t help anybody’s profile in the least.

    2) Anytime a Nigerian tells you he turned down an opportunity to earn millions of dollars (not naira) doing something legal and in good moral standing, it’s a lie. We don’t such foolish things.

    3) He shouldn’t be so humble. Regardless of whatever numbers those streaming platforms show, Mr. Eazi knows that his music is better than Wizkid’s. Numbers aren’t everything.

    4) He deserves to be a mainstream artist. However, as of late, the quality of his lyrics has suffered, possibly from doing too much at once. Mr. Eazi should slow down, go away for a year, get his craft back where it used to be, and come back with a masterful offering for his true fans.

    5) All this talk about going global–it’s a waste of time. Focus on the market that has made you a star and give them the sound they know and love. The rest of world might eventually get on board, but chasing after them is futile. Afro-Pop, as we knew it, is fizzling out. It’s becoming a fusion of every other popular genre of music. And once it’s been diluted enough, our African artists will individually become just another musician of thousands, making “black” or “urban” music.

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