Perhaps the most celebrated case of an artist-record label contract gone wrong was the one involving King Sunny Ade and his record label owner, Chief Bolariwa Abioro, Chairman of African Songs Limited.
The news of the case broke in 1974 and at the end of the case, it was established that the artist was being exploited by his label. Since there has been a sort of belief that record labels are designed to exploit hapless music stars. But the Chief Executive Officer of Bellyflow Entertainment, Bello Adebowale Yusuf would not countenance such assertion, saying it is false and absolute untruth.
When the question was put to him that record labels more often than not, exploit their artists, the Lagos State native from riverine town of Epe countered.
“Exploit? Who comes up with all these?,” he countered . “A label is ready to put up millions to promote your talent and make money for two, and you thinking of exploitation? I will even say only 35% of artists signed bring back money spent on them, so this proves that this business is risky.
Imagine, all these artists who have made it you are seeing are just about 35%. There are more than 75% that didn’t make it and investment wasted.”
The record label boss however stated that not all record labels and artist contracts end in a mess or at the courtroom. He posit that every contract gone sour there are many more that have pulled through and having a blissful time.
Hear him: “There are many successful label-artist relationships. The relationships that went bad are just few, but they trend more than the successful ones. There are many labels that actually have good relationships, and that same label also has relationships with another artist that didn’t go well. I believe it’s an individual thing, some artists are content with their contract and want it to work, while some artists just want to sabotage the contract ( laughs). Sometimes it might be the label, they may be running at a heavy loss, and finding it hard to sponsor the artist projects , and sometimes it might be that the artist couldn’t product good music.“
Bello sums up his position by saying the artist must be ready for a professional career and ready to drop hits back to back and be patient with the label. He also advises that there must be a good professional PR team for the artist to work with to make his contract easy, both for him and the label.
Bello Adebowale Yusuf,established the Bellyflow Entertainment in 2015. He hails from Epe in Lagos State, Nigeria.