Music contracts. I have had this question more times than I can recollect. A lot of artists in Ghana and beyond are yearning for a deal but cautious of one.
See, everybody wants a deal. Its every artist’s dream to have an easy work load. We want someone to help us make music easy for us.
We want someone to help us reach a bigger audience, make good music, make good money and also get the world talking about him or her. But what type of deal should you yearn for, is it good to go for a deal in Africa or should you go independent?
First off, a contract is an agreement either written or verbal between 2 parties. Now as an artist, you should know what type of deals there are and which one is particularly going to help your career.
This is one of the most popular music contracts out there. This is basically made to help an artist record music.
If you have a good craft but need help to make them into realization, a recording deal is what you need.
Many record labels in Africa basically help you by producing and mastering your songs needed. They also help you by telling which music suits you and which market is best to penetrate.
If you are lucky and you get a good label with some heavy cash, you might have a video produced in addition. Mostly these contracts have a 50-50 percentage cuts; meaning every money you make out of the music produced, you share 50-50 with your label.
This is one of the confusing music contracts especially in Ghana. The myth is, a manager invests in your craft as a whole but this is wrong.
A MANAGER IS NOT AN INVESTOR.
A manager’s job is to make sure your entire brand as an artist is perfectly crafted. He makes sure the right form of dressing, social media presence and overall brand is well placed.
He also helps you get interviews, gigs and coverage needed. And usually, the percentage cuts are 20-80 percent. So if you get shows, club appearances, video appearance, endorsements with his help, he makes 20%.
Publishing & Licensing Deals:
This is my favorite of all music contracts because its a stream most of you don’t know but are missing out big time.
As an artist, a good brand and music can set you for life and probably your generation.
A publishing and licensing deal is basically when your music is making money for you while you sleep. This is the investment for major artists. A good deal covers royalties form media, ringtone deals (if you want to), people paying for sampling your music, using your song in an advert, movie or documentary or people using your brand to sell a business (like endorsement but you actually have a stake in the brand you represent)
As an artist, I would urge you all to make good music, focus on building a brand, approach this deal and then thank me later.
This is the one I hate the most, what every artist seeks and I would advice any artist not to take.
First, they approach you nicely and give you the best speech in the world. Then they give you a large sum of money called a “signing bonus”, if you’re lucky a house and a car and then take from 60-80% of every money you make from them for a period of time.
Sounds cool right? Wait till you have responsibilities and a team to feed.
The best thing about these music contracts is, they will cater for everything you want ie. Production, management, publishing, licensing, video and touring.
Worst thing is, you make less money and you are free when they say you are. *cough cough Zylofon cough*
So what should you strive for? Personally, all has its good and bad sides. First look for a recording deal and a good management deal. Work your craft and brand, make good music, build a strong network and then seek a very good Publishing and Licensing deal.
THE RIGHT MUSIC CONTRACTS CAN SET YOU FOR LIFE
If you have any questions, hit me up in my comment session or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Long Live Ghana Music.