Blaq Diamond record label sees red

A popular South African record label is composing a legal showdown against award-winning pop duo Blaq Diamond for “unlawfully” terminating its contracts and getting paid for gigs behind the stable’s back.

Speaking to Sunday World, the record label’s executive, who did not want to be named, said Blaq Diamond, which serenaded the queens and kings of
Mzansi with their hit ditties such as Love Letter and Ibhanoyi, had signed a three-album deal, artist management and record label contracts with the music powerhouse in 2017.

In terms of their contracts, the artists were supposed to be booked for their gigs via the label and release three albums before their contracts could end.

After dropping the album in the first contract, they then signed another contract to release three more albums in 2020.“This means the duo owes us four albums that it must release as stipulated in its contract,” said the record label employee.

The executive said the record label and the duo butted heads when it wrote a letter demanding to terminate its contract in January this year.

This comes after being informed the company intended to sue it for getting bookings to perform in Congo and Namibia without its knowledge or consent. In the letter, the duo stated it was terminating their contract with the stable but would hand over royalties of its songs.

In the letter, which Sunday World has seen, the artists said in addition to surrendering their royalties, they also wanted to relinquish the profit of the Russian Bear contract to the company.

“We would like to sign over all the sales, streams royalties, and publishing of our music released under Ambitiouz Entertainment to Ambitiouz Entertainment.

We would like for the outstanding performance funds owed to Blaq Diamond to remain with Ambitiouz Entertainment

“Regarding Russian Bear endorsement deal, we will continue to work with them and honour the agreement, but the outstanding payment be paid to Ambitiouz Entertainment and to remain with Ambitiouz Entertainment

“BET Isono soundtracks money to remain with the label as well as the compensation for the featured music of the Netflix series [How to ruin Christmas] namely Woza My Love and Umuthi to remain with Ambitiouz Entertainment.”

The artists gave the company seven days to comply with their demands and said they would consider its failure to do so as an acceptance of their terms.

But stable boss Kgosi Mahumapelo rejected their offer and said he would sue them for a breach of contract if the contract was not terminated by mutual agreement.

“He held a zoom meeting with them and gave them a sales report which showed that they have R1.6-million in the kitty but the loans they obtained from the stable were more than that amount. He also told them their demands for him to take royalties from their songs did not make sense as he was entitled to 50% of the royalties generated from their songs anyway,” said the executive.

The artists then asked him about the deal they had signed with Absa. “He showed them the deal, which states that the Absa deal was just R725 000, not R6-million as they claimed. Of that deal, we have paid them R100 000 each already.”

The executive said the agency that signed the deal, on behalf of the Russian Bear terminated the contract with the label after accusing it of not giving the artist tasks to promote the brand.

Mahumapelo declined to comment as the dispute with Blaq Diamond is sub judice. “All the matters you are raising will be ventilated in court.”

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