Music Business

Sony allegedly signs Wizkid, pays him a seven-figure advance but what’s the promotional strategy for Davido?

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Wizkid has allegedly signed a record deal with Sony and received a seven-figure advance for his yet to be recorded album. It’s a story that has been peddled for months  with Sony staying mum. In recent times, however, credible industry stakeholders and mainstream media such as the Financial Times have also discussed the yet to be confirmed deal.

AML artists, remember that while an advance is not a loan, the money is not free and is recoupable by your record company from income received from the sale of your recorded music. Further, the larger the advance, the less likely that you will see actual royalty payments by the time all applicable deductions (recording costs, living expenses, producer’s fee, video, independent promotion etc.) are made. Finally, in exchange for the advance you receive, you will typically give up your copyrights in your master recordings to your label. Therefore,  it is smart, if you are an artist of Wizkid’s caliber, to get as much money as you can for your advance knowing fully well you may never see any royalty income. If you are an emerging artist, depending on the facts, it is prudent to be a lot more conservative with the advance fee you accept.

The typical material terms Sony usually includes in its recording contracts are: the term, territory, advances, royalties, creative control/approval, controlled compositions, videos, ancillary endeavors by the artist,  group considerations and other miscellaneous key provisions. These terms are not unique to Sony. They are standard terms found in most recording contracts in the U.S. with some parallels also found in recording contracts in Nigeria. The deal you get depends on your bargaining power which is negotiated through your lawyer, and your manager, if you don’t have a lawyer. You should get a lawyer for this.

In any event, while we wait for Sony to confirm its deal with Wizkid, what I want to know and what you should be concerned with is the promotional efforts/strategy for the other mega star, Davido, who is signed to Sony/RCA. What’s really going on there?

I believe we’ve worked way too hard, collectively, as an industry and as a people to see one of our major assets, an extraordinarily unique artist, sign a deal and just seem to be designated to bench warm for the rest of the season. Why is he not in the game playing the point guard position he plays so well. Shooting, scoring and bringing it home for Africa. Was he not a strong acquisition to begin with for the U.S. market?

While Sony has made its intentions clear in being the number one dominant entertainment company globally, and simultaneously launched an office in Nigeria when it signed Davido, is this Davido deal going to be a reciprocal relationship?

Students usually return to school in September. A Davido EP was promised this September but is yet to be released and the month is almost over. Is one forthcoming in October?  If yes, where is the promotional efforts, beyond taking him to go watch other American artists perform? Are the college radios even aware of Davido? What about advertising, radio promotion, promotion to the American consumer etc.? Davido gave an interview in July to Ebro but it wasn’t even on the mainstream radio where he is a host, Hot 97.7.

Does Sony still believe that Davido can and will make it mainstream in America, now that it has allegedly signed Wizkid? I mean, let’s face it. Unlike Wizkid, Davido is yet to make the Billboard charts in America or any of key music markets in Europe or even Japan. Wizkid, however,  has topped mainstream charts globally, via his feature on Drake’s ‘One Dance.’ He is also a featured artist on a new single titled ‘U Don’t Know’ by Justine Skye, an emerging artist signed with Roc Nation.

While Wizkid continues to appear in a capacity of a featured artist in most of his American released projects, the point is there is enthusiasm from mainstream to industry support, stateside, for this allegedly signed Sony artist. That’s great news but what does that mean for Davido? Does Sony really plan to place the same marketing and promotional efforts and budget to two Nigerian/African mega stars, at the same time, when one is yet to  break into mainstream America?

All eyes, my eyes especially, are on Sony, RCA and their move with Davido. Davido is not just any artist, his success is Africa’s success, and that’s not even debatable.

-Ms. Uduak

You gotta love American record labels having African mega artists with “10-triple” power as featured artists for their emerging artists. So Skye gets to enjoy Wizkid’s mad fan base and I’m sorry what did Wiz get? However, knowing my Naija folks, many would say, “let’s just thank God and appreciate.” Okay o. Kosi problem.

Warning: Mild instance of strong language used.

______________

“The irresistibly fun, up-tempo, dance-til-dawn music that is the soundtrack of sweaty Friday nights and early weekday mornings in traffic in the African megacity of Lagos was until recently recorded almost solely in small studios in Nigeria.

But with Nigerian singer Wizkid tipped to sign with Sony Music-owned RCA Records — becoming the third Nigerian artist to sign with Sony this year — and international stars lacing the sounds of the “Afrobeats” genre through chart-topping hits, the country’s vibrant music scene is going global…

FT.com has the full story.

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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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