Singer and songwriter Harrysong has left Kcee’s Five Star record label to launch his own music company.
“What bothers me is not the work, what bothers me is the appreciation,” said Harrison to Planet TV in explaining one of the key reasons he left the label. “You are helping someone that knows nothing and he’s telling you that he’s helping you. You write a song and the person is telling you that ‘it’s when I sing your song that you blow, if I don’t sing your song you don’t blow'”.
Harrysong claims his contract expired and the lack of appreciation was a catalyst to move on and launch his own music company, that is not a label. Nevertheless, news reports contradict his statement that his contract has expired with claims that he has two years left with Five Star.
A future legal action for breach of contract will tell us if in fact Harrysong still owes Five Star some years on his contract.
However, let me quickly address the whole, “if I sing your song that is when you will blow” statement that really irritates Harrysong.
The reality is that in Nigeria’s music business, the person making that claim to Harrysong is right. Songwriters are simply not valued in the business. It is no surprise, therefore, that for decades now, songwriters make nominal to zero income from their craft. Indeed, income streams for songwriters are almost non-existent and pale in comparison to their western counterparts. Also, most musicians double as songwriters and recording artists, so the value that is again placed on songwriters in Nigeria’s music business is zero, to at best, minimal.
In recent times, however, we have a few industry executives who are determined to change that. We also have Nigeria’s collecting society COSON, helping to change that tide. So, while I understand that it is important to be appreciated, especially since Harrysong claims he wrote songs, was a music director and vocal coach for Five Star, he also needs to deal with the reality that songwriters are placed on the bottom of the food chain in Nigeria’s music business.
He should also think about being a part of the solution, in addition to starting his new music company.
For Kcee, I think where he may have dropped the ball, if Harrysong’s version of the facts are true is not separating the roles. Harrysong should be compensated strictly as a recording artist. There should also be a contract and compensation as a songwriter, and for his work as a vocal coach and music director.
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