Image credit- (

A featured/side Artist is one who is a guest for a master sound recording on a single, E.P or L.P as the case may be.

Featured Artists are put on  songs for different reasons, sometimes it’s because the Main Artist is an upcoming Artist and wants the increased exposure his song can get due to the presence of the featured Artist (who is usually a big A list Artist). Another reason is that the Artist just wants to have a different type of Artist in order to change the original vibe or feel in his song.

Recently on social media there was a rant about how a featured Artist went ahead to perform a part of a song he was featured in, in a concert and the Artist who featured him was furious. I am guessing there was no agreement by the parties on this song.

Again, sometime last year, a well-known recording Artist in Nigeria took to Twitter to say that for music Artists it is mainly about making music and nothing else, until the Lawyers whom he referred to as “Yama-Yama” bring in legal work and administration thereby complicating the whole thing.

These issues, comments and lackadaisical nature are not new and are the cankerworms eating away at the entertainment scene as a whole today. So, for example, xxx Artist features xyz Artist on his song and xxx Artist thinks that after the initial flat fee has been paid to xyz Artist that is all there is and so xxx Artist can put the song out as his single, or in his E.P or L.P.

This is a wrong move and if xyz Artist is on a record label that owns the exclusive rights in anything done by xyz (as is the case in most recording contracts) then rights, interest or licence needs to be gotten from xyz Artist’s label or xxx could be legally liable.

This brings to the point where before you feature any Artiste whether upcoming, A, B, C or even Z list Artist you have to have an agreement to that effect. Some would even argue that featuring an Artist is mainly a work for hire and the Featured Artist therefore has no further rights to the song outside of any one-off fee he may have been paid. To stay clear of any legal claims that could bite afterwards you need to do the following:

1. HAVE A SIDE ARTIST AGREEMENT: this is an agreement between you and featured Artist that contains all the terms of the feature as agreed between you and the featured Artist (or better still his record label). Such terms include; ensuring that the featured artist makes a video appearance, social media promotion, or appears on certain dates on tour with you, for example.

Furthermore, there are different types of Side Artist agreements and, as such, thinking that just  because  you have an agreement with the Featured Artist means the Featured Artist’s contribution is therefore on a work for hire basis (i.e. belongs to you) is wrong. Types of side Artist agreement include:

a. No Record Royalty/No song Rights– the Featured Artist gets paid a one off fee according to the terms agreed between the parties, the sound recording is owned by the Main Artist or his record label who wants the feature. Since the Featured Artist has made some contributions he retains ownership of the part of the song and would receive mechanical royalty for sales of the recording, including digital sales.

b. Record Royalty/Song Rights– here the Featured Artiste is paid a flat fee for his performance with agreement of further recording royalty on actual records sold, including digital sales.

If the Featured Artist made contribution to the music and lyrics in the Song then, unless agreed otherwise, he will retain ownership of and receive mechanical royalty for sales of recording, including digital sales.

c. Recording Royalty/No song Rights– here a flat fee is paid to the featured Artist plus record royalty on sale of records for their services. In the event the Featured Artist writes parts of the recorded song (e.g. his verse and/or chorus) the publishing, performance and any other “song” rights of the Featured Artist on the record are owned by the Main Artist or his record label as a work for hire.

2. SIGN A SONG SPLIT SHEEET: a song split sheet is a document that states who wrote what part/percentage of the song(s) recorded by a band or artist. This agreement will state how much ownership of the song each party has. The split sheet is needed so that when you as an Artist or your label register the song for copyright purpose (e.g. with a collecting society such as COSON) each of the composers of the song can be paid their share of tomatoes accordingly and properly.

3. HAVE FEATURED ARTIST’S RECORD LABEL SIGN WAIVER OF LIABILITY: this document is more important to the main Artist. If this document is not in place the main Artist runs the risk of the featured Artist’s label sending a cease and desist letter on the record produced. It is this document the featured Artist’s label will sign stating you as the Main Artist have final rights based on the terms agreed to by the featured Artist in the side Artist agreement. It allows the Main Artist to market, promote and earn revenue on the song without fear of allegation of copyright infringement. Protect your asset as an Artist/Label by getting the right administration in order.

Don’t join the band wagon that thinks paper work is what makes the business of music hard.  Build relationships with the Artist’s Manager whose job it is to make sure all business is taken care of. DON’T PLAY YOURSELF INTO THINKING IT IS JUST MUSIC AND THERE IS NO BUSINESS OR LEGAL PART TO IT. MUSIC IS A BUSINESS; EVERY BUSINESS HAS ITS OWN FORMALITIES.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu


Fawehinmi Oyinkansola Esq.

Fawehinmi Oyinkansola aka The FozaDoza is synonymous to energy and passion. With keen interest in the entertainment and legal industrIes, Foza has been able to create a niche in both industries for herself. She obtained her LL.B and a Diploma in Security studies from the prestigious Babcock University Ilisan Remo, Ogun State. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2014.

She started out in the entertainment industry as Business manager for a school group called Pro Inc which became the favourite go to hip hop group in school. This spurred her passion for talent management and she has worked as a road manager at Monarc Talent Agency (an affiliate of Aristokrat Records), G- WorldWide Entertainment as business manager and currently is the General Manager at a 360 management company (Incubation Factory).

Her clientele spans across the music, film and telecommunications industries where she has effectively brokered license, distribution and endorsement deals. She has an impressive personal and professional relationships with all her clients which ensures she creates a comfortable working relationship. She leads the music and film divisions of the firm.

Foza is a vocal and passionate change agent, a non conformist and an adventurous risk taker. These traits have made her a known face as well as speaker on the most prestigious entertainment conferences stage. She strongly believes in integrity and is driven by family and legacy building. She has received numerous awards in relations to leadership and social activities.

Foza enjoys her live band music sessions, and a gathering of talented artiste anytime. She is the life of every party and has an excellent social skill.

Olumide Mustapha Esq.

Olumide Mustapha is a technology and entertainment attorney both in Nigeria and the UK. As an undergraduate he was a student of Sociology and economics at the University of Reading in the UK before embarking on his legal career by first qualifying – with Distinction – as a Solicitor from the College of Law UK, (and then practising for a period), with a particular focus on International Commercial Law,
Tax and Intellectual Property. Having been also called to the Nigerian Bar with Honours Olumide has since continued to focus on the areas of media, entertainment and technology law.

Olumide, in applying his vast legal and business knowledge in these sectors, has successfully initiated, negotiated and pushed through numerous transactions to the commercial benefit of clients. He has advised two of the “Big Three” global music labels on their planned entry into, and commercial strategy for, the Nigerian market; negotiated significant licensing agreements with a number of major Nollywood production houses and advertising agencies on behalf of a major music publishing company; consulted for one of the country’s biggest copyright collective management organisations; and worked with numerous technology start-ups in securing funding and scaling their businesses. Olumide is also the Chair of the Music Publishers Association of Nigeria.

On the back of such experience Olumide has also built over time a formidable network of contacts that allows his clients to enjoy a full suite of legal and business advisory services that include the ability to source funds, conveniently acquire/produce/licence valuable content, in addition to ensuring specialised due
diligence is carried out on all transactions and that good governance is practiced at all times; all with a keen understanding of the relevant market dynamics and client’s specific commercial objectives. Moreover, he has significant experience in litigation and has a lot of expertise in utilising the Nigerian court system to ensure client’s rights are protected and enforced at all times.

Never being one to shy away from sharing his professional thoughts, opinions, and analyses, Olumide is regularly featured in various media to provide his views and analysis on the legal and business issues surrounding the Nigerian entertainment and technology industries. Such media outlets include Channels TV, TVC, NigeriaInfo FM, Business Day, The Guardian, Techpoint Africa, and the African
Venture Capital Newsletter amongst others.

Olumide’s aim is to use his years of experience and expertise in international commercial and intellectual property law related matters, and strong network of contacts – both foreign and domestic – to contribute to the legal development of Nigerian enterprise structures and governance, and general business practice; thereby pushing the country closer towards fulfilling its socio-economic potential.

Iredumare Ojengbede Opeyemi

A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University Nigeria (LLB) and University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (LLM) is a legal practitioner in Nigeria with over six years of experience in intellectual property, telecommunication and cyberspace Law.

He is a cyberspace, media and entertainment researcher with keen interest in Music, Film and Television, digital rights and personal data protection, intellectual property protection, creative financing, Media Advocacy and information literacy on the digital space. A cultured, informed and disciplined legal practitioner, who prides himself as a strategic solution executor, an expert in identifying root challenges and creating specific market/territory based solutions to cyberspace and digital challenges. He is always constantly seeking growth opportunities and self-improvement initiatives as a team player working in and for goal-oriented organizations.

Iredumare has spent the last two years facilitating multimillion naira deals for his clients across catalog licensing, catalog acquisition, intellectual property estate valuation as well as developing music business models for various value chain members in the African creative industry. Iredumare enjoys reading and having solution driven conversations with like minds.