By Paul Owere
The Citizen Reporter
Dar es Salaam. One week after it was revealed that Bongo Flava artistes were losing billions of shillings in royalty sharing scheme, artistes have moved in to sever business with Push Mobile, The Citizen can exclusively reveal.
Through Trustworth Attorney, the local artistes have served Spice Vas Tanzania Limited with a seven-day notice to terminate their contract through which the company was selling their works to mobile phone companies.Also affected in the severance deal are other companies that have been involved in brokering the deal between the artistes and mobile phone companies such as Spice and Crystal.
In what seems to be a move to bar the operators, who were the main suppliers of artistic works to mobile companies’ agent OnMobile, the artistes have rallied over 127 signatures to stop any further transaction involving their work.Some of the artistes that committed their signatures to the petition are rappers Prof Jay, AY, Mwana FA, Godzilla, Fid Q, Mataluma, Izzo B and Dully Sykes.
Representing local bands, the African Stars Twanga Pepeta management also signed the document and so have 45 gospel artistes in the country.
Signatures of those who were not available were signed by their managers and representatives.
“We, the artistes of Tanzania in unison irrespective of the genre, instruct you to stop any further sale of our music in terms of caller tunes and ring tones to mobile phone companies,” reads the letter drawn by their lawyers to the company.The mobile phone companies mentioned in the letter, a copy of which was seen by The Citizen, include Vodacom, Zantel, Tigo and Airtel.
The new development puts in suspence the agreement that local artistes had entered into with these companies. The artistes now want the agreement to be nullified.
Asked whether it would not be breaching the contract, the source who preferred anonymity because he was not the spokesperson of the group, maintained that there was nothing to breach any further as several clauses had already been violated.
“For example, in the agreement that we entered into, we were supposed to receive a monthly financial statement plus our royalties. but to tell the truth no one has ever received any statement,” said the source.
The artistes planned to send the cancellation letter to the involved parties yesterday demanding an immediate end to the use of their songs, citing unfair dealings.
The draft that The Citizen saw said in part: “We hereby instruct your company to order the immediate cancellation of use and sale of our songs within seven (7) calendar days with effect from today.” The draft continues to order the companies to withdraw any adverts that aim at buying and selling caller tunes and ringtones on radio, TV, newspapers and SMS until the parties enter into a new agreement.