Davido: (Sony) “tried to change my sound…saying staying true to my culture wouldn’t work for me outside Africa”

We revisit the Davido-Sony deal which I have said, from day one, made no sense. This is because you have an artist that has already achieved critical mass in the Africa and is slowly but surely gaining strong momentum in the Europe and other parts of the world. He has the funding to support marketing and promotional efforts of his music or to obtain funding directly from his family if he chooses. Yet, he goes to Sony and signs a traditional recording deal requiring permission where his creative control is concerned. It is an incredibly silly thing to do and there is no other way to mince words about it.

When Sony dropped the music video for his hit single ‘Gbagbe Oshi’ last year, they made the video inaccessible in certain markets including the U.S. until an uproar from fans forced them to lift the restriction. A year later, Davido now seems to get it. He announces to the world what I’ve been saying and all I can think is… *sigh*. Sony is doing its job based on what they know and the deal you signed. They don’t know you, and they sure as heck don’t understand your market and how to effectively marry the two African and western cultures.

Artists, especially in this digital era, you have to know your identity and the kind of bargaining power you bring to the table. Don’t be like Davido. Also, as much as you want to “blow,” know your core fan base and who pays your bills. Unless you want a complete rebranding and starting from scratch, any deal that requires dropping your identity and your existing fan base is one to make you think really long and hard. Finally, all lawyers are not created equal, regardless of their prominence or popularity.

For African artists looking to play in the western market who have such strong brand equity like Davido, you should work with a lawyer who is intimately familiar with your local market. If that means having your western lawyer connect with your Nigerian/African lawyer so no stones are left unturned, as to your local market, do so.

Take ownership of your career and know what you want. Davido is stuck with his contract so this will not be the last we will hear of that deal and him fighting for creative control.

-Ms. Uduak

“The bro @1omarion feeling da ‘IF’ vibes! All last year , they tried to change my sound .. saying staying true to my culture wouldn’t work for me outside Africa! This year I fought and pleaded for ‘them’ to allow me make the music I know how to make and now see what’s happened!! MUSIC AINT GOT A LANGUAGE !! NOW I GOT THE BIGGEST SONG IN AFRICA ONCE AGAIN! THANK TO JAH!!”


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Thanks for visiting Africa Music Law™. Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak), the founder of Africa Music Law, is a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handle her firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. For over fifteen years, as an attorney, she has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts. She has also handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa and Asia including network television and licensing deals. Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA: ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. To work with Ms. Uduak (advertise on this site, want her to speak at your event, or to purchase a license for distribution of AML podcasts episodes), email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). If you would like Ms. Uduak to represent you on your legal matter, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com) to discuss your specific situation.

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