Legal Drama

Wizkid No Show at GTBank UNAAB College Concert, Denies Being Booked

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA based readers! There are so many things to be thankful for, not so? Be grateful.

Alright! Cutting straight to the issue at hand.

It has also become a pattern and practice to see Nigerian artists subject to the greed of promoters or organizations who use their names, images, voice/sound to advertise for concerts they were never booked for. On the flip side, we’ve also seen downright unprofessional, egotistical rude artists who have been booked and received their initial deposit fee to perform, yet they fail to live up to their end of the bargain. As a result of their actions, Promoters have been burned real bad and suffered injury to their reputations. Stories abound from Yankee to Naija and back.

Whatever the case, since artists in Nigeria primarily make money through these promoters and concerts, this area is proving to be a legal minefield waiting to blow up for both artists and promoters. So far so good, we have not really seen things get real ugly. However, if artists and promoters continue with business as usual  without any structure and a lot of “he said, she said,” it is only a matter of time the industry will be hit with a rude awakening of a tragic case over a fee dispute gone really wrong. In simple terms, both artists and promoters need to get their act together.

A few cases to reference on the growing dispute over fees and performance are:

1. Edo Promoter v. Naeto C

2. Edo Promoter Breach of Contract Suit v. P-Square

The facts in this scenario is slightly different. GT Bank promised college students that Wizkid would perform at their campus. Wizkid never did. Wizkid, through his management, claims he was never booked for a show by GT Bank for UNAAB college.

What are the key things both promoters and artists should keep at the forefront of their brains?

Artists, if you sign a legal agreement, you are bound to the terms. You don’t get to negotiate under the table when you have a label or management representing you. When you do so, you clearly disrespect and undermine the efforts of your label/management. In addition, your actions constitute a contractual breach and you could and should frankly be sued for that mess. This means, anyone who contacts you to book you for a show, it is your legal obligation, if under a contract, to  pass them over to your manager/label or other persons you have hired to work for you. Example of the above? We heard an allegation of artist Olamide undermining his management Toni Payne at the time, with an alleged dealing under the table. The facts were never quite confirmed but you can read the story here.

Promoters/Corporations etc., you should never and cannot use an artist’s  name to advertise your event, service or product without permission. While Nigeria does not have Right of Publicity Laws, an artist can still sue you for injury to reputation and fraud in civil court. You could also be charged with criminal fraud when you take money from others, knowing fully well the artist you claimed was booked has never been booked. You also lose credibility and patrons and fans will most likely refrain from doing business with you.

Also, Promoters, negotiate only with the shotcallers. If an artist’s manager or label executive does not sign the dotted line, you do not incur the expenses, promotions etc. on advertise on oral promises. You MUST always have a signed written contract when doing business  like this. Word of mouth or a handshake is not enough. Don’t be comfortable with how long you have known the artist or management. You run a business, get a signed contract in place. It is that simple. Read the Wizkid story below:

“Students of the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) had their hopes dashed today Wednesday, November 23, 2011 as Nigerian pop sensation Wizkid failed to show up for an advertised GTCrea8 eSavers Campus Concert.

GTBank, organizers of the campus show had earlier announced that the 2011 MOBO winner would be performing at the convocation ground of the school’s campus via Twitter on Monday, November 19, 2011 and further assured the public about nine hours ago. The show as announced was to take place from 3PM to 6PM.

‘In the next edition of the GTCrea8 eSavers concert, GTBank features the amazing Wizkid! cc @wizkidayo’, @gtbank tweeted on Monday and just this morning, followed uo with another reminder ‘Today the GTCrea8 eSavers campus storm featuring @wizkidayo hits UNAAB Abeokuta at 3pm! Venue: Convocation Grounds’.

But inside sources in the EME camp have disclosed to Nigerian Entertainment Today that Wizkid is ‘resting at home’ leaving the people to wonder what has gone wrong.

Sources insist that they were never contacted for the show.

We’re told neither Wizkid’s management nor record label were contacted nor are aware of any existing booking of the artiste. Inside sources say the label may be considering legal actions against the bank.

‘I won’t be commenting on anything for now. We will make an official statement tomorrow morning’, Osagie Osarenkhoe, Wizkid’s manager told Nigerian Entertainment Today in a telephone conversation. . . ” – NET has the full story.

I am a trial lawyer as well as the founder and principal attorney for UDUAK LAW FIRM. You can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/uduaklaw or www.twitter.com/africamusiclaw. I am  also the President & CEO of Ladybrille Media Group, Inc. I have over seventeen years combined experience in the fashion and entertainment industries and welcome  your basic  Music Business Questions. Have a question for me? Send me an email: (africamusiclaw@gmail.com).

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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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