In a remarkable turn of events, Afrobeat luminary Burna Boy, who inked deals with Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group, has reportedly banked an astonishing $300 million in royalties during the period spanning 2022 to 2023. Despite this lucrative milestone, Burna Boy’s net worth remains relatively modest, standing at just under $15 million. The curious case of the discrepancy between his earnings and net worth can be attributed to the substantial cuts taken by the labels, coupled with Burna Boy’s deliberate emphasis on global acclaim rather than immediate financial gains.
Burna Boy’s affiliation with renowned American labels was not solely driven by financial aspirations but rather by a more profound ambition to thrust African music onto the international stage. While his earnings over the specified timeframe have been significant, a closer look reveals that Burna Boy only received a mere 10% share of the royalties generated by his track “Last Last,” underscoring the influential role wielded by the labels in these arrangements.
Concerns within Burna Boy’s fanbase have started to surface following the revelation of the details of this new contract. Many of his devoted supporters have taken to platforms like Facebook to voice their worries and criticisms about the terms of the deal. Questions about the fairness of the label’s share and Burna Boy’s long-term financial prospects have ignited fervent discussions across social media.
One of his fans said:
“Burna Boy is not a small artist when he signs for Warner group, why in God’s name will he sign such a deal that will make him work like a slave? He needs to find a way to get out as soon as possible unless he is going to suffer the same fate as Micheal Jackson where they will use him because he’s famous and popular he will make a huge investment for them and when he wakes up and get old he will be on their funeral Parlor.”
“It’s easier said than done. Every artist wants their music to reach as wide an audience as it can. The biggest music market in the world is the US followed by Japan, UK and the rest. To make it to these markets you need impeccable distribution, marketing and positioning. This is where American record companies have an advantage over others. For artists such as BB it all boils down to negotiating the best deal possible, it’s almost impossible to do that if you are a hungry and unknown artist from Africa. I just hope in the next deal he negotiates well. He’s achieved phase one of what he needs i.e. become a household name, then negotiate a better deal. It’s admirable to be all Africa-centric but as things stand we do not have record companies powerful enough to deliver the kind of international exposure your Atlantic & Warner can… It’s time that artists and entrepreneurs start working on owning these companies instead of being happy making a pittance from their own artistic work. Black Coffee bought a large chunk of Gallo Music in SA a few years ago. An inspired move and the beginning of something bigger and more international in the future… .’’
“He shouldn’t get carried away about fame, this is business and he should be compensated adequately. He needs a good manager and lawyer to lead his negotiations. Instead of embarking on such a low-budget deal, he should have taken his time and made his name solo.”
“Exploitative business arrangements.”
“Same happens to all musicians. Even Michael Jackson suffered the same fate. Unless you deploy witchcraft as an alternative to those powerful music execs. Bottom line. They own Burna.”
Burna Boy’s journey is undoubtedly one of artistic dedication and a profound commitment to showcasing the vibrancy of African music to a global audience. As the conversation surrounding his contractual agreements continues to unfold online, the spotlight remains on the complex interplay between artistic vision, financial interests, and the evolving landscape of the music industry.