May 9, 2018

Artist Performance Contracts And The Accolades Nigerian Artists Deserve | Joshua Olorunmaiye

If you caught up with my previous article related to this subject matter; MUSIC CONTRACTS AND THE ACCOLADES NIGERIAN ARTISTS DESERVE, you would remember the point noted that there is no perfect music contract that caters, once and for all, for every single situation. This is so because there are several types of contracts an artist may make during the long haul of a music career. What is crucial therefore, is that you understand the content within each specific music contract; the rights and obligations that they create between parties.

On this article, I am using an Artist Performance Contract as a template for some of the insights to what you should arm yourself with as an artist. As you may know, an Artist Performance Contract is the contract which contains agreements regarding your performance at a gig.

In the meantime, do budding artists in Nigeria ever sign these contracts or they just receive a call to perform at a venue and turn up ready to blow out the mics?

Let’s go:

1.     BASICS: Your contract should clearly define the location, date, time, amount of compensation for your performance and have a signature from you and your host.

2.     PERFORMANCE: Precisely define the expectations of the performance. What does your host expect and what do you expect? How many breaks? How long should the minimum performance be?

3.     PAYMENT: How will you be paid? Is it a fixed amount, or a percentage of ticket/merchandise sales? When will the you be paid? What is the method of payment? Would it be in lump sum or in instalments?

4.     RIGHTS: Who has the commercial rights to the recording, reproduction, transmission and photography of your performance?

5.     COST: If the gig is out of town, you need to be certain of who will cover the cost of incidentals such as meals, transportation and lodging.

6.     PRODUCTION: How and who handles issues such as DJs, sound engineering, instrumentals, needs to be stated. Does your host handle them or leave you to provide them?

7.     FRUSTRATION: ‘Acts of God’ are often mentioned to protect everyone involved. This includes weather and/or illnesses. Acts of God is a legal term for occurrences that are beyond the control of man and which would effectively cause the performance to be impossible or delayed.

8.     TERMINATION: How will a cancellation of the performance be handled? Will there be a penalty and to what extent? Cancellation policies need to be clearly defined in your contract.

9.     COPYRIGHTS: You may consider adding a clause on royalties and licenses to your performance contract especially if the work is copyrighted. This would bring you economic gains as any part of your performance is monetized.

10. RESTRICTIONS: Some specific requirements or restrictions due to religion or social norms within the location regarding dressing, language, smoking, drinking etc., would need to be inexplicably stated to avoid running legal problems.

11. AGENTS: If there is an agent involved, their terms need to be included as well in relation to the kind of compensation they would receive or any obligations that they would have.

12. INSURANCE: Terms relating to insurance and security should be provided to cater for possible injuries or mishaps that may occur in relation to your performance.

In all, as an artist, it behoves on you, upon your invitation to a gig, to request that a formal contract be signed between you and your host. This goes a long way in ensuring that both parties are saved from unnecessary anger in the event that things go wrong.

Finally, make sure to have your lawyer review all documents in relation to your art before you sign same.

I hope you enjoyed this. Kindly share to others. Cheers!

*Joshua Olorunmaiye Esq is a legal practitioner based in Lagos. He is on Twitter as @joshomaiye. You may contact him via email