Entertainers, Producers And Marketers: Who Bears The Burden?
The Nigeria entertainment industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. There is no doubt that people from other countries in Africa troop into the country either to collaborate with artistes or feature in one movie or the other.
This can be seen through the accolades and recognitions given to our artistes from all parts of the world.
But the relationship between Nigerian entertainers, producers and marketers have been bittersweet due to issues of trust and sponsorship. According to some entertainment pundits, not all producers or marketers are bad. While some are of the opinion that marketers have done moreharm than good, others are of the opinion that there are lots of people who come into the industry just to inflict hardship on hard working artistes.
When this issue was first thrown out to some in the know, there were lots of people who agued that these artistes are the cause of their misfortune.
In a chat with one of Nigeria's prominent faces in Nollywood, Chief Bruno Iwuoha, he lamented how marketers frustrate actors, emphasizing that only the marketers dictate the tune in the industry. He said this can only be curtailed when necessary machineries are put in place.
“The marketers are connected all over the world and can go to extra lengths in making sure that they get what they want. They have a strong cabal that is difficult to split. That is why you see our CDs being pirated even before the movies are released.”
But Paul Obazele, one of Nigeria's foremost actors who was at the just concluded Hollywood Black Film Festival organised by Nollywood, had another argument. He said there is no way one will be registered with the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), and still fall victim to some bad eggs called marketers or producers.
“The marketers suffer also like the producers, when a marketer runs from one place to the other every now and then; he meets an untimely death on the road. Because of what the pirates are doing, he is looking for how to sell his film, how to beat the pirates to it.
The case of actors falling victims to the hands of producers or marketers, that is a different case as it is an internal thing, but I am talking about a general thing that is springing up right now. I say this to people, who are you? How do you define yourself?
If you make people know you for who you are, they will give you respect. For example, the members of the association of movie producers would not have reason to be shortchanged by any marketer; they know that there is an understanding amongst us. But if you come out as an individual to deal with the markets, since you did not go through the association and the marketer happens to be a registered marketer, the association will not be able to fight it. I tell people this; do not neglect your association, you will fail. If there are memorandum of understanding and a working relationship between associations, they will respect it. It is not possible for a marketer to register under Adiegbu, and even when Emma Ezigaku was there, to defraud a member of the association of movie producer; they know that it is not possible to defraud my members. So we have this working relationship, that is why I told you it is a different thing. I am doing a larger cry right now, whether we like it or not, we have producers who are not registered with us, who today if they commit a fraudulent act, people will say they are members of the association, but if you bring the person's name to me, I will tell you he is not registered with me. So, if Bruno brings out whosoever that did what he did, and reports to me, I will fight it and make sure the marketer brings the money out. But I tell you that people who are engaged in such act are not people who are registered with the Nigerian Film and Marketers Association.” Obazele explained.
There was an incident of super star 2face Idibia who is commanding an intense applause from Nigerians and Africans for making the continent proud.
A marketing company called 'Happy Boys' fronted by Bisi Bangbala had a business deal that did not go down well between the two.
Bangbala alleged that he got involved in a negotiation with Mr. Idibia after he claimed that he would be making a duet with US R&B singer R. Kelly for his 2008 'Unstoppable' album.
It was reported that that Bangbala through his company (Happy Boys) opted to buy the album off 2face for an undisclosed sum with the hope of securing ROI (return on invested capital), especially because of the R. Kelly duet. However, just like many critics of the duet, the marketer claims he was disappointed by the so-called 'R. Kelly duet' – claiming it is questionable.
Bangbala was not satisfied with the finished product claiming Idibia did not do what he portrayed while the negotiation was on.
According to a report, having paid 2face's Hypertek Records the agreed sum, the marketer was compelled to accept the album, on the condition that 2face would produce another album to compensate for the loss.
Idibia went on to release his album 'The Unstoppable Int'l Edition'on his own label, working with other distributors. It was also gathered that Happy Boys “decided to let sleeping dogs lie; letting it all go by counting their losses and moving on.
Upcoming artistes should take this into cognizance and register with a known body in order to avoid mishaps. The entertainment industry will continue to boast of talented artistes who are hard working and intelligent.