Record label faces more copyright theft claims

Makhadzi. Picture: Facebook

Makhadzi. Picture: Facebook

Published May 11, 2023


Johannesburg - The original John Vuli Gate producers, Sara and Chilli Yababa, as well as Sdala B and Paige, have accused Open Mic Productions of failing to pay them for a string of songs that they have made for the embattled record label.

A source close to the situation, who did not want to be named, told The Star that the record label, which was recently ditched by award-winning music star Makhadzi over similar accusations, has in the past allegedly cheated many other acts.

"They (Open Mic) stole the hit song John Vuli Gate from the original composers of the song, a duo called SCARA & CHILLI YABABA (from Pretoria). The original composers of the song even opened a case in Pretoria against the Open Mic artists, Mapara A Jazz, who were arrested, but Open Mic paid (bribed) the police, who immediately released these guys, and the case disappeared," he said.

According to the source, besides this duo, another duo, Sdala B and Paige, are going through the same problem after their album Ngiyazifela Ngawe, released in September 2021, featuring the hit song Ghanama Zulu Version, was not compensated for the 13-track album.

This was confirmed by Sdala B and his manager, Lucky Matshazi, who have since spoken to The Star about a series of empty promises made to them by the label.

"Yes, we are still not paid by Open Mic after they gave us a three-page contract to sign in 2021. No royalties have been paid to Sdala and Paige since we recorded this album at my house. In fact, when we requested the original copy of the contract, we were sent from pillar to post, and they then produced a fake 17-page contract, which they are using to claim royalties without us," Matshazi said.

The source also accused the label of bullying its artists and influencing radio stations improperly.

"Open Mic are popularly known as the biggest bribers in the music industry because they have a lot of compilers in their pockets; hence, they bully artists and other smaller record labels because they have the power to instruct compilers, who are largely on their pay roll, not to play anyone's music that they choose to block. Nkateko (Maluleke), as a lawyer and CEO of Open Mic, has been at the forefront of the artists being oppressed by Open Mic. Artists have been made to believe he is a strong lawyer and well connected, and the artists' cases will never succeed."

Maluleke refused to comment on the allegations levelled against him, saying: "Open Mic will not be commenting on this matter, at least not at the moment."

In a post on social media, Sdala B says he will now leave everything in the hands of the Lord.

"Moving from home to Johannesburg, knowing very well that I am an orphan, I put all my efforts into the songs such as Zulu Ghana, Khanyisa, Ngiyazifela where Open Mic came in and promised the world. I have never received even a single cent, nor did I ever receive any royalties that were generated by all the songs that I made with the label," he said.

The Star