More transparency needed - Sista Sasha encourages artistes to learn more about publishing rights

February 01, 2021
Sista Sasha
Sista Sasha

Days after gospel artiste Sista Sasha decided to speak out about the ills of the publishing deals in the music industry, she is clarifying that she was "not in any war" with veteran producer Gussie Clarke with whom she had signed a 50-50 publishing deal in 1995.

"I would not try to put out a rebuttal to Gussie's statements, I am not in any war with him and I wasn't picking nuh bone with anybody. I really wasn't expecting him to come forward," Sista Sasha told THE STAR. Clarke, responding to a conversation between Sista Sasha and Mr Vegas on social media, insisted that he had paid over everything she was owed.

But Sista Sasha, who was a secular artiste at the time, said that she and Mr Vegas were simply "holding a reason" about the struggles and disadvantages artistes have gone through.

Having read books like Plain & Simple Guide to Music Publishing by Randall D Wixon, Sista Sasha said she has a greater understanding of the responsibility of a publisher or publishing company.

A grand opportunity

"The purpose and one of the duties of a music publisher is to look for endorsement deals. Some jus' a wait fi a grand opportunity fi fall inna dem lap to negotiate and collect. It happens all over the world," she said. "The 50 per cent was a lot and signing that contract was suicidal because is later down in your career you realise how important it is especially now. When no shows are going on, there are artistes who can sit and wait on a paycheque. The only question is am I getting my fair share? The first big cheque I got from Gussie was three years ago. At no time did I say he didn't pay me."

Sista Sasha said that her 1998 single Dat Sexy Body did well internationally but when it comes to calculating the numbers, without actual documentation, it is unclear.

"There needs to be more transparency. Some publishers take 10 to 15 per cent, and it's not based on a direct standard. He (Clarke) should be ashamed to share that he paid me $J4.5 million for someone handling the affairs for over two decades; it might sound like nuff but that's $32,000 when you convert it to US. The pay statements I receive after him done get paid in US dollars are generated by his company secretary," she said. "We as the artistes don't get to see what actually comes in from the larger companies. I am willing to be the guinea pig so make dem roast me. All I was saying is knowledge is power."

The singer says she is imploring her colleagues to get educated and fast because "the money lost by some of our entertainers over the years is the result of an unfair game".

She noted that when some music legends die, their relatives can't find the money to bury them.

"All because dem nuh get a dime from the publishers, the ones that allow greed and gluttony to take over. It's a shame and disgrace on the industry," she said.

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