Monday, May 07, 2007

artists beware!

wow. i just read a very scary contract. there is an ongoing dispute over ownership of tracks and payment of royalties with an unnamed artist from an unnamed country in africa on our site. the artists' representative has claimed that they have a contract with the artist, but recently, the producer of the recording (!) has stepped in, saying they have the rights to the music. I have recently been sent a purported contract between producer and artist, and have just seen one of the most abusive contracts from an artist's perspective that i've ever seen.

On one level it is a recording contract, but it somehow transfers management rights to the recording company, as well as prohibits the artist from working with anyone else for 5 years. The artist gets 15% on domestic sales, 10% of international sales, and only gets paid every 6 months.

The terms are so loose that as an unscrupulous business person, one could clearly do the recording and never pay the artist again. amazing.

Very scary if this is a standard contract for artists in this part of Africa on several levels. Scary for the artists there and their ability to actually make a living on contracts like this, and scary for those interested in getting music out of Africa and helping artists reach an international audience. If an artist has one of these 5 year contracts lurking in their past, and probably never read nor understood the implications of such a contract, and someone comes in to help them bring their music to an international stage, record a new album, etc, and risks ending up in court to fight a contract like this, . . . . . .

wow. talk about a damper. must move on to happier pieces of work . . .

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