Zakes Bantwini countersues label for full payment of owed royalties

Recording superstar Zakhele “Zakes Bantwini” Madida has turned the tables on the record company that is suing him for millions of rands when he demanded payment of his royalties from it.

Madida has also accused the company, Paradise Africa Distribution (PAD), of breaching their agreement by remixing his blockbuster song Osama without his consent.

The musician, who placed his name in the pantheon when he, together with Wouter Kellerman and Nomcebo Zikode, won a Grammy Award in the Best Global Music Performance category with the song Bayethe a fortnight ago, made the startling revelations in his responding affidavit filed in the Joburg High Court in December.

PAD, which is trading as Paradise Sound System, slapped Madida ’s company, Mayonie Production, with a R2.4-million lawsuit for a breach of contract after accusing the artist’s label of signing a marketing and sales deal with rival record label Universal Music.

PAD said it had concluded a written exclusive master recording agreement with Madida’s company in Germany or KwaZulu-Natal on August 6 last year.

In terms of the agreement, Mayonie Production granted PAD the right to exploit and distribute the album’s audio-and-audio visual products overseas.

It also granted PAD the right to sell Madida’s songs anywhere in the world, excluding Africa, on popular online music stores such as Traxsource and Beatport.

It also authorised PAD to allow service providers and other third parties to digitally exploit the album in all technical formats and products via digital distribution. PAD agreed to pay Madida’s company 50% of the net profit on the exploitation of the album.

PAD said Madida’s company breached the contract when it signed an agreement with Universal Music on October 27 2016 and granted it exclusive rights to exploit the album for 10 years from October 12 2016. The deal between the artist and Universal Music meant that he no longer held the exclusive exploitation rights to the album and rendered their agreement invalid.

The company said it would have earned a profit of no less than R2 402 754, if the artist’s label had not breached the contract.

In his plea, Madida confirmed that he concluded an agreement with Universal Music but denied he breached the contract with PAD.

He said PAD was not prevented by the Universal Music deal from commercial exploitation of the album.

He also added that PAD did not suffer any damages because it has continued to exploit the contractual repertoire, and that, in fact, it was PAD that breached the contract when it released a Pete Tong and Paul Rogers remix song, Osama, on August 2 last year without his consent.

This, despite their agreement that stipulates that remixes had to be signed by both parties.

He said his lawyers had sent a letter to the company, giving it 10 days to withdraw the remix from commercial circulation, threatening to cancel the contract with immediate effect if they failed to do so.

Madida said despite the demand, PAD has failed to withdraw the remix from commercial circulation within the stipulated time period and as a result had cancelled the agreement on August 18 last year.

The dance floor wizard’s label also said PAD was supposed to pay him royalties of his album after sending him financial statements supported by documentation.

“To date, the plaintiff remains in breach of the agreement in so far as it has failed and or neglected and or refused to provide a statement to defendant of royalties due by it to the defendant and or to pay the amounts due and owing to the defendant in accordance with clause 8 of the agreement,” read the papers.

He asked the court to grant him an order to force PAD to render to him a full account of the royalties it owed him from August 6 2021 and pay him whatever is due to him.

Attempts to solicit comments from Madida drew a blank.

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