Many upcoming artists have only one question on their mind when offered a record deal – “where do I sign?”
As Nigerian as we are, the prospective idea of blowing with a label blinds upcoming musicians’ eyes and can make you sometimes forget that you need to read and understand what it is you are actually signing.
Before you sign a contract, there are many things you should look out for, especially the red flags listed below. Watch out for them and keep them in mind.
Verbal agreements not reflected in the contract
Sometimes, circumstances may cause the things you discussed and agreed with the label representative to not reflect in your contract. That is one major thing artists need to look out for, that’s why reading a contract is necessary because once you sign, it’s going to require a lot of work and law-issues to rectify.
For example, if you are told you’ll be getting an advance of N200k, but the contract doesn’t show that you shouldn’t expect the money if the label doesn’t want to revisit/review the contract.
Make sure everything said, every verbal agreement made is put into writing and in that contract. Make sure they don’t just talk the talk, everything agreed upon must be committed into writing before you put your signature on it.
No clear definition of terms and obligations
You need to get on the same page with the label even before you sign your contract. Clear definition of terms, rights, obligations, and agreement between both parties is paramount.
As an artist, you need to know when the label’s rights start and end, as well as, what you are entitled to, what is expected of you, and also what you should expect for your work. Everything must be put in writing.
No limit on your expenses
Sometimes a label will make it a point of duty to cover your daily expenses with the condition that they will remove it from your revenue when you start making money. One way to ensure you get good money at the end of the day is to tell them to put a cap on your expenses. Once you max it out, you will be O.Y.O, but then, you will be able to get something substantial at the end of the day.
Let’s imagine you make 700k in a month, but before you made that money, you spent about 400k on expenses (which the label covered), that means you’ll take home just 300k at the end of the day. However, if you had placed a limit of 200k from the start, then at the end of the month, you’ll have half a mil to chill with.