Unpopular Opinions About Tiwa Savage’s Deal with Universal Music Group

L-R: Joel Katz, Sipho Dlamini, Efe Ogbeni, Adam Granite, Vannessa Amadi-Ogbonna, Sir Lucian Grainge, Tiwa Savage
It is indeed a double season of congratulations for Nigerian music icon Tiwa Savage, who recently hit 2 major milestones; the first being her Universal Music deal and the second, her Star Radler Beer endorsement. These come after her fantastic seven-year run as the first lady of the Mavin family and gems like Once Upon A TimeR.E.D. and Sugarcane all stand as concrete testaments to her now concluded chapter with the label.
This new deal is an exclusive global recording agreement that will have Tiwa Savage’s future music released through Universal Music Group’s operations in more than 60 countries. Her music projects will also be executively produced by Efe Ogbeni (an international music business mogul who has worked with the likes of Akon, Enrique Iglesias, Lady Gaga, Davido etc.) and Vanessa Amadi-Ogbonna (popularly described as a PR machine; has worked with Genevieve Nnaji, Destiny’s Child, Usher, Whitney Houston etc.).
Here’s how Digital Music News describes the basic terms of an exclusive recording agreement (although Tiwa Savage’s contract may contain different conditions depending on her team’s negotiation).
  • The artist is exclusive to the label.
  • The label pays the artist in advance with a signing bonus.
  • The contract is “work for hire”, meaning the label is the “author” and owns all copyrights.
  • The label can have up to two subsequent albums.
  • The label commits to a recording budget for the first and following albums. The money given is dependent on the success of prior albums. The artist keeps any money left over from production.
  • The artist receives a recording royalty.
  • The label gets back the advances and production costs from the artist’s recording royalty.
  • The label has the right to enter into an agreement with a major recording company (often with indie label deals). If this happens, the artist and label split advances and royalties paid by the major.
  • The artist allows the label to use any of their songs in exchange for a “mechanical royalty”
  • The agreement contains fair 360 provisions, based on how much the label contributes to the artist’s success.

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