The recent tragic demise of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, has once again brought to the forefront the dire need for a comprehensive National Creative Industry Policy in Nigeria. Mohbad’s untimely death, reportedly precipitated by a contentious contract dispute with his record label, Marlian Records, serves as a stark reminder of the precarious nature of the Nigerian entertainment industry. With the Nigerian music industry generating over $2 billion in revenue annually, it is high time for the government to step in and protect the rights and welfare of its talented artists. In this article, we will explore the urgent need for a National Creative Industry Policy in Nigeria, drawing inspiration from successful policies in developed countries like the UK, Canada, and Germany.
The Current State of Affairs
Nigeria’s creative industry has earned international acclaim, thanks to its talented musicians, actors, and artists. However, beneath the glitz and glamour lies a myriad of challenges, including unfair contract practices, lack of standardized terms, and inadequate artist protection. Many artists, like Mohbad, have found themselves in unfavourable contracts that significantly restrict their creative freedom and earnings. This not only hinders their artistic growth but also impacts their mental and emotional well-being.
The UK’s Creative Industry Policy
To address similar issues in the creative industry, the United Kingdom has implemented a robust Creative Industry Policy. This policy has been instrumental in fostering a fair and transparent environment for artists and creators. Key components of the UK policy include:
1. Standardized Contract Terms: The UK government has recently taken the initiative to establish guidelines that aim to define industry-standard contract terms, specifically those that support a fair and just balance of power between artists and record labels. These guidelines cover several key areas, including revenue-sharing agreements, album release schedules, and intellectual property rights, all of which are crucial factors that can make or break an artist’s career. These kinds of guidelines are a step in the right direction towards creating a more equitable and thriving music industry for all stakeholders involved and Nigeria will do well to glean from this.
2. Artist Welfare: The policy places significant emphasis on the well-being of artists, recognizing the importance of promoting mental health support, providing legal assistance, and granting access to financial education. By doing so, artists are empowered with the necessary tools and knowledge to make informed decisions about their careers, ensuring a more secure and prosperous future.
3. Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: The policy implemented in the United Kingdom comprises well-designed mechanisms that facilitate quick and unbiased resolution of disputes between artists and stakeholders. This approach helps to minimize the likelihood of prolonged legal battles, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and detrimental to both parties involved.
Canada’s Creative Industry Policy
Canada has also established a successful Creative Industry Policy that serves as a model for many nations. Key aspects of the Canadian policy include:
Fair Compensation: In order to ensure fair compensation for artists, the Canadian government has implemented policies such as the Artist’s Resale Right. This policy guarantees that artists receive a percentage of the resale value of their creative works, allowing them to continue producing and contributing to the cultural landscape of Canada. By providing financial support in this way, the government is able to support artists and encourage the growth of artistic expression in the country.
Cultural Export Promotion: As a nation, Canada is a strong proponent of promoting its cultural exports. This effort not only benefits the artists and creators involved, but it also serves to expand their reach and influence on a global scale. By providing these talented individuals with opportunities to showcase their unique talents and perspectives, Canada is able to cultivate a diverse and vibrant artistic community that is recognized and appreciated around the world. Through this dedication to cultural exchange and collaboration, Canadian artists are able to build their fan base and generate new revenue streams, while also contributing to the rich tapestry of global creative expression.
Education and Training: The aforementioned policy is focused on investing in comprehensive education and training programs tailored for artists. By doing so, the policy aims to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the intricacies of the industry successfully. This approach is designed to empower artists to take control of their careers and achieve long-term success.
Germany’s Creative Industry Policy
Germany’s approach to the creative industry involves strong government support and investment in the sector. Key features of the German policy include:
Financial Support: The government of Germany has implemented a program that offers financial aid in the form of grants and subsidies to artists, enabling them to pursue their creative goals without the burden of financial constraints. This initiative is a testament to the government’s commitment to supporting and cultivating the artistic community, ultimately contributing to the preservation and flourishing of the arts in the country.
Cultural Preservation: The preservation of traditional art forms and cultural heritage holds a significant place in Germany’s values. The country takes pride in maintaining and celebrating its rich cultural history, reflecting its respect towards its cultural roots.
Copyright Protection: The protection of artistic creations is of utmost importance, requiring the implementation of thorough copyright laws that effectively safeguard the intellectual property rights of artists. This not only helps to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their work but also encourages the creation of new and innovative pieces that enrich our society. As such, it is crucial that we prioritize these efforts and continue to promote a culture of respect for artistic expression.
A Blueprint for Nigeria
Taking inspiration from these successful policies, Nigeria can develop its own National Creative Industry Policy to address the issues plaguing its entertainment industry. Key components of such a policy must include:
Standardised Contracts: It is important to create contract terms that conform to industry standards and are fair and transparent. These terms should include clear provisions for revenue sharing, intellectual property rights, and creative control to ensure that all parties involved are treated equitably. This should also include minimum rates and conditions of creative industry contracts and practices.
Artist Welfare: It is important to prioritize the welfare of artists by implementing comprehensive support programs that address their mental health needs, provide legal assistance, and offer financial education opportunities. This would ensure that artists are provided with the necessary resources to navigate the challenges they may encounter in their careers and personal lives. With a focus on artist welfare, we can help create a more supportive and sustainable environment for all those involved in the creative industries.
Dispute Resolution: In order to foster a harmonious relationship between artists and industry stakeholders, it is imperative to establish an effective and easily accessible dispute resolution mechanism. This mechanism should be designed to efficiently address any conflicts that may arise between the aforementioned parties, with the goal of achieving a timely and fair resolution. Such a mechanism would not only safeguard the interests of both artists and industry stakeholders but also promote a culture of collaboration and mutual respect within the industry.
Investment in Education: One viable solution to ensure that artists succeed in the industry is to invest in education and training programs for them. By providing these talents with the necessary skills, they can better equip themselves to thrive in the competitive field of arts. Such programs can be instrumental in helping artists to develop their craft, refine their technique, and learn the latest industry trends and best practices. Overall, investing in artist education and training can be a wise investment that can pay dividends for years to come.
Cultural Promotion: It is imperative to promote the rich and unique Nigerian culture and creativity on the global stage, with the aim of expanding the exposure and revenue potential for local artists. This will not only showcase the diverse talents and skills of Nigerian artists to a wider audience but also contribute to the growth and development of the country’s creative industry. By providing more opportunities for artists to showcase their work internationally, we can create a sustainable model that allows for the promotion and preservation of Nigerian cultural heritage while also boosting the economy.
Copyright Protection: Strengthen copyright protection laws to safeguard artists’ intellectual property and ensure fair compensation. It is imperative to reinforce the current copyright protection laws in place to provide a secure environment for artists to safeguard their intellectual property. This will enable them to receive fair compensation for their creative works, which they have invested their time, effort, and resources into. The implementation of these laws will not only benefit the artists but also the society as a whole by promoting creativity and innovation. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize the strengthening of copyright protection laws to encourage and support the artistic community.
The tragic loss of Mohbad serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for this National Creative Industry Policy in Nigeria. It is also a signal that there are many more tickling bombs that will definitely explode with time if this issue is not carefully and fundamentally addressed. Drawing inspiration from successful policies in different countries that take the creative industry seriously like the UK, Canada, and Germany, Nigeria has the opportunity to create a thriving, fair, and transparent creative industry that benefits both artists and the nation’s economy. It is time to craft a policy that ensures Nigerian artists can pursue their passion without fear of exploitation and achieve the international recognition they deserve.