I have been discussing cancellation of tours, promoters, labels and artists liability for a while now. In Nigeria, we see promoters now taking legal action. In the USA, we have seen the first lawsuit by a Nigerian based company against Rick Ross for cancellation of a concert. They sued Rick Ross for $2million in New York. The case is ongoing. I expect to see more lawsuits of this kind in the nearest future.
Specific to the United Sounds of Africa Tour, there were so many things that could have been done better to guarantee the success of this tour. Below are six lessons to note from the USA tour.
1. The headliner M.I should have shown up. NOTE: Promoters, your contract should really make your headliners feel the pain if they fail to show up for a concert, especially where they have received their initial deposit fee. I don’t know the terms of what was agreed with M.I but I fail to see, beyond a business decision on the ground in Nigeria that was more favorable to M.I, why he did not attend the shows when TuFace did.
2. Investment in marketing and promotions and tour support with LIVE Nation and other third parties was critical. Getting a venue with a big name like LIVE nation does not cut it. You need more.
3. Stronger, bigger well known sponsors in the touring country should have been used. Arik, IROKO etc. are good when the tour is only focused within mostly Nigerian circles in the USA. If it extends beyond that, then other important USA sponsors that do business in Africa should be a part of the mix.
4. Mobilizing and forming partnerships with existing African and non-African USA based media houses ahead of tour is a must.
5. Banner Ads on websites of African and non-African hyper targeted blogs/websites is a must.
6. Local visibility on highly visited African restaurants, grocery stores as well as non-African yet culturally minded diverse groups is a must.
Needless to say hiring competent event promoters and entertainment lawyers is a must.
We are in a new day and new age. We will and should begin to see lawsuits, especially in Western countries like the UK, USA and Canada, where promoters/artists/labels fail to follow through on their legal promises.
The intention of United Sounds of Africa was noble. They just need to go back to the drawing table and zoom in on the planning and execution.
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Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. For over seventeen 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. Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine.
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