Mohbad: Reps move to protect singer’s music assets, royalties

Elizabeth AtimeSeptember 26, 20233 min

The lawmakers worried that proceeds of songs by Mohbad are still going to the Marlian Music Group, and no agency has made any moves to protect his estate.

The House of Representatives has passed a motion seeking to protect the rights of Mohbad’s songs and lyrics, and ensuring the proper management of his musical assets, while securing his son’s benefits from his musical legacy.

The House also called on the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) and relevant stakeholders to develop and implement industry-wide guidelines that ensure fair treatment, transparent contractual agreements, and proper compensation for artists, reviewing existing copyright and contract laws in Nigeria, and identifying gaps or areas in need of reform.

It also observed a minute of silence in honor of the late singer, who died at the age of 27.

These resolutions were contained in a motion on the “Need for Justice, Safeguarding the Legacy of Late Ilerioluwa Olademeji Aloba A.K.A Mohbad, and Protecting the Rights of Young Promising Artists in Contracts with Their Record Labels”, sponsored by Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos), at Tuesday plenary.

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In his debate, Rep. Benson, who represents the late artist, Ilerioluwa Olademeji Aloba A.K.A Mohbad, in the House, noted that the Nigerian music industry mourns the loss of the talented artist, who tragically passed away under mysterious circumstances on September 12, 2023, and has continued to make headlines and dominate discussions across and beyond the nation.

He also recalled protests, and processions by youth across the country chanting his name, and calling for an investigation, saying “It is evident that Mohbad’s fans are struggling to come to terms with his untimely demise. Mohbad, also known as Imole, meaning “light” in Yoruba, was an artist who sang of peace and light.”

He noted that Mohbad left his record label, Marlian Records, owned by Azeez Fashola (Naira Marley), in 2022, citing various grievances, including unpaid royalties, adding that the issue is indicative of a broader problem in which artists encounter challenges asserting their rights.

The House decried what it described as a “disturbing industry practice”, adding that evidence of mistreatment highlights the struggles of young artists who, in their quest for success, become entangled in parasitic contracts and face bullying when they seek to exit these agreements.

Concerned that that Mohbad’s case is not an isolated incident, the House said “Many artists in Nigeria find themselves ensnared in unfavorable contractual agreements, limiting their creative freedom and financial growth. This situation can lead to disputes and, at times, even violence.”

According to the House, the Nigerian music industry lacks substantial institutional funding, pushing many artists into unscrupulous contracts with record labels. Addressing this issue is vital for the industry’s growth and sustainability.

It said the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) functions encompass copyright registration, law enforcement, education, royalty management, international collaboration, legal advocacy, and policy development, hence should be protecting copyright and promoting artists’ interests in Nigeria.

Furthermore, the House worried that most of the proceeds of the late artist are still going to the Marlian Music Group, saying there has been no move from any agency to protect the estate of the late singer, who is currently the 46th best-selling digital artist in the world.

In adopting the motion, the House equally resolved to gather information regarding the circumstances leading to the singers’s demise as well as monitor the ongoing investigation.

It mandated the Committees on Justice and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance with the resolutions of the House.

 

Elizabeth Atime

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