Simon and Phiri: the end of the song
Unschooled about music law and contractual issues, obtaining legal advice is a costly challenge, writes Lungile Sojini
When musicians Ray Phiri and Paul Simon collaborated on Graceland, it’s unclear whether there was a contract signed that allowed Phiri to earn royalties from his input. Nearly at the end of his life, Phiri claimed that Simon had cheated him of his royalties. Phiri is not alone. At the beginning of their careers, most musicians are unaware of how the music industry works. Eager to put signatures on life-changing contracts, they are likely to overlook their rights. This is especially true of musicians from rural areas, says music and entertainment lawyer Ryan Tucker. "Some of the artists that have come to me are from rural Eastern Cape. They don’t have access to entertainment lawyers like people in the city do. They don’t have access to the type of information that they need in order to make the proper decisions." Unschooled about music law and contractual issues, obtaining legal advice is a costly challenge. With no one to help them, young musicians are likely to entrust the all-impo...