Some months ago, the Nigerian entertainment industry was gripped with the news that things were no longer rosy between erstwhile singing partners and label mates, Kingsley Chinweike Okonkwo aka Kcee and Harrison Tare Okiri, popularly known as Harrysong.
Harrysong was said to have left Five Star Music, owned by Kcee and his brother, Emeka Okonkwo aka E-Money, before the expiration of his contract. Harrysong had complained that he was doing the bulk of the work in the label and wasn’t satisfied with the remuneration he was getting. The matter was dragged between both parties and Harrysong ended up being arrested by the police. Some industry stakeholders later mediated and Harrysong was released and he returned to the label to complete his contract.
Those familiar with the Nigerian entertainment industry would know that the above scenario is not a strange occurrence as it happens often in the entertainment industry. Many artistes have dumped their record labels midway into their contracts, claiming that they weren’t well taken care of by the label.
In a chat with Sunday Scoop, Kcee explained why this is usually so. “A lot of artistes don’t bother to read contracts before signing it. They just put pen to paper without going through the documents to know whether they are okay with the terms and conditions of the deal. At that initial stage, many of the artistes are usually hungry and desperate and would practically beg to sign those contracts. Many of them are also not loyal as they just want to ride on the record label’s platform and money to promote their careers. When they find fame and make a lot of money, they begin to say that the contract is no longer workable for them. Most times, the artistes wouldn’t even call for re-negotiation of the contract, rather they would just abscond and things are not done that way,” he said.
Speaking further, he enthused, “I always advise artistes to study the contracts before signing it because once you put your signature on it, you are legally bound to comply with the terms of the contract, so far you were not made to sign it under duress. Promoting an artiste is very expensive and it usually takes time for record labels to recoup their investment. This is despite the massive risk that they take because there is no guarantee that the artiste would be successful. But most times, people don’t know what transpired between the parties involved before taking sides.”