Harmonize’s 15-year Wasafi deal: Tale of a contract from hell?

Friday August 23 2019

 

By Paul Owere @P_owere Powere@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The perils of committing too much are showing for singer Harmonize aka Konde Boy who entered into a long-term contract with WCB in 2015, but now wants out.

It is believed that the multi-talented singer and songwriter committed to a 15-year deal that some pundits have described as ‘a contract from hell’.

But at the point of entry it made a lot of sense for the Mtwara-born artiste who back then had nothing to show for his talent.

Just like many artistes of his time, he had suffered rejection and disappointments along the way. No one was willing to put in money into a promising act without certainty that rewards will be reaped at the end of the day.

Yet all he dreamt of, just like any other promising artiste, was for fate to bring him into the company of the best of breed, people who can see into the future.

That dream team came in the form of WCB.

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It was not about the money – instead it was about getting the muscle and validation. As a result, he signed in for a long term contract, which is rumoured to be in the excess of a decade and a half ensued.

As a nascent record label WCB, took a big risk with a new artiste, and, like any other business would want, they must get a fair return on their investment.

Sadly, today’s contracts are too long, too intricate, too overreaching and too prone to fostering resentment at some point.

The biggest problem with such long term contracts is that there is no easy way out. They generally come with either no exit clauses or a heavy exit clause and zero discounted settlement terms.

According to analysts, at such times exit is always the best option.

The best way to achieve a greater balance is to have the contract limited to about three years or a number of hits. If the relationship is a healthy one, the deal can then get re-calibrated.

The deal can be adjusted up, down or sideways, as it were, to reflect success, lack of success, new technologies, new opportunities or changing dynamics.

It is no wonder that Sallam says they are calling in auditors to determine how much they have recouped on their investment given the fact that Harmonize had served only four years into his contract – the ramifications could be far reaching.

Harmonize has been very civil in his approach as he seeks to end his marriage of convenience with WCB for he understands that there are issues that could hurt his career post the WCB era if this is not well dealt with now.

Veteran musician John Kitime and others predict a tug-of-war in the post divorce era even if the break up is resolved amicably.

The past doesn’t suggest anything better for an artiste who leaves a band or group to go elsewhere and Konde Boy would better be equipped to handle what is coming.