Don cautions record labels against exploitation of young artistes

A Professor of International Economic and intellectual Property Law Property at the University of Abuja, K.M Waziri has cautioned record labels against the exploitation of young, naïve, up-and-coming and impressionable musical artistes.

In a statement on Friday, the versatile academic professor condemned the servitude, unequal bargaining power, anti-labour law activities that characterise the many contracts record labels literally manipulate young artistes seeking exposure to sign.

Waziri said whilst record labels feed fat on the royalty and financial returns that proceed from the works of creatives, the artistes get an infinitesimal portion or absolutely nothing of their sweat as rewards.

He warned that the action contravenes the dictates of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and local labour laws.

The Don said provisions of labour legislation by the ILO totally frowns at forced or compulsory labour which is an ancient practice akin to slavery and has no place in the modern world.

Waziri said all international instruments on forced or compulsory labour condemn the deceptive recruitment by record labels and the exploitative actions of the latter. The instruments include the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105), the United Nations Slavery Convention, 1927, and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, 1956.

Waziri said, “Disappointingly, record labels are the new slave-masters in town. One would have thought that with the exit of the colonialists and imperialists, the era of slavery in Nigeria and parts of Africa has ended but it is not so, evidently.

“Today, record labels with local and international management fraudulently make young artistes sign contracts without giving them the opportunity to know the details of the contract. This recruitment by abuse of lack of information because the young artistes are not fully aware of the contract terms due to a lack of information. This is condemnable and exploiters should desist from preying on the vulnerabilities of these young talents thus preventing them from making informed decisions before committing themselves in contract.

“The indicators of deceptive recruitment include economic reasons that render a young artiste vulnerable at the point of recruitment include being from poor ground and lack of funding to produce records. Poor exposure and little or no educational background of up-and-coming artistes also contribute to the exploitation by record labels. Excessive deductions of wages for food or lodgings, or monetary penalties for fraudulent reasons also constitute indicators of deceptive recruitment, according to the ILO.

“These practices are fraudulent, grossly exploitative and prosecutable and should be stopped by record labels. Young artistes already embroiled in messy contracts can also seek redress in court, he advised.”

Ekene Njoku

I am a passionate blogger, graphics designer, web designer and information researcher. Also, a media marketer

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