Audu Maikori, C.E.O of Chocolate City Group, appeared on the The Africa Music Law Show with Uduak Oduok to discuss what it takes to start a record label in Nigeria. In the interview, he talks about the state of the Nigerian music industry and working with American artists. Listen to Interview here
On How Artists Conduct Themselves on Social Media
One of our artists went on social media to put pictures of some illegal substance. We said please take this off, it is not good for the brand and it is not good for your brand. At that time, we were actually talking about an endorsement deal with a major brand. When the brand saw it, they took a step back. I recall we lost close to $100,000 and some live performance shows. When he didn’t, we said we would suspend all work with him until he complied because part of the implied terms of his contract was that he would not do anything to frustrate the label or management. And if he did, the contract could be suspended pending the correction of the issue.
On Nigerian Artists and Labels Working Together and Bridging the Gap
There are lots of stereotypes about what Americans perceive Africans to be. They think Africans are either very poor or very rich… what we are trying to do is basically let them know that there are huge opportunities here (in Africa), you do have fans here, and there is also an opportunity for us to build our fan base in the USA.
Lawsuit with Brymo
I must say very clearly that this is not a personal matter. It is business. Many people want to invest…I have had meetings with banks, with CEOs of many companies … and they always say,“look, we are afraid of your industry because it is so erratic. A guy can wake up tomorrow and say, I am tired. He will just send a tweet and then what happens to my money?”
Imagine you took out a $50,000 loan to finance someone’s career and then he wakes up one day and says, “you shouted at me, I am not happy so I am leaving my contract and there is nothing else you can do.” Now how much interest did you pay on that loan? It is important that you do keep your side of the agreement and if you want to leave, that is not a problem whatsoever, just meet the terms of your contract and go. So, we are trying to take everybody to school so that they can learn and the industry can get bigger and better.
On Jesse Jagz’s Abrupt Exit from Chocolate City
His contract was up and he decided he wanted to go in another direction, no issues. When it comes to talent, expect that artists will be erratic, and that it is normal for these things to happen. The most important thing is after that was done, we sat down with him, he told us what he wanted to do and we gave him our blessings. He still features on Ice Prince’s album.
On Artists Erratic Behavior in Nigeria’s Music Market
I do not think that it is about the music industry per se. It is a cultural problem across Nigeria…the whole lawlessness. Lawlessness is wide spread and people think that they can always get away with things. It is a cultural issue beyond music… there is lawlessness, there is lack of professionalism, there is lack of ethics, people think it is just about now. How much can I get right now, not looking at the future. We have a lot of work to do.