Gallo Record Company, Johannesburg, 20th September 2019
Following on what was supposed to be a day of remembrance for Thami Shobede on Wednesday 18th September, Gallo Record Company would like to issue a statement regarding some of the statements and questions directed at Gallo at his memorial service. It saddens us greatly that this day, also a difficult day for us as much as it was to his friends and fans, was reduced to something that took the light off Thami.
Statement 1: Issuing of Press Statement on the day of Thami’s passing prior to his family
As Thami’s record label and in the line of media questions being received on the day of Thami’s passing, we were obligated to release a short statement to the media addressing what had occurred, sharing what little information we had at our disposal at the time.
As Thami was a popular public figure, we were inundated with calls and emails with media asking for information, and it is understandable that people were concerned and looking for answers.
Gallo Record Company supplied a very brief statement of facts on Wednesday 11th September, and expressly and specifically mentioned that “We don’t have any other specific details or facts at this time, and kindly request that everybody please respect the wishes of Thami’s family who will be issuing a formal statement shortly”.
It is relatively common for a record label or management company to address the media before the family themselves who are understandably dealing with their grief, and as his label, we took that weight off his family so that they could deal with their shock and grief in private, instead of having to deal with the pressures of media answers in their most vulnerable time.
Statement 2: Gallo Records was only notified that Thami was in hospital late on the day prior to his passing
One of Gallo Record’s employees received a call very late on Wednesday 11th September informing them that Thami was in the hospital. There was also a request for assisting to move him to a private facility. We were unclear at the time of the state of his condition and went through to the hospital first thing on Thursday morning to visit him.
A Gallo representative spent the entire day at the hospital on Thursday 12th September lending support and assistance to the family prior to and after Thami’s passing.
Statement 3: Payment of Royalties
It’s easy for those who are not involved in the music industry to get emotional over these matters when the facts or inner workings are overlooked.
Record labels take a chance on investing in new artists. Recordings cost money. Marketing costs money. Video’s costs money. As part of an artist’s recording contract there are certain expectations of the record label, and the upfront costs that they bear, and also expectations from the artist – to cover the risks involved and investment into their career.
There are recovery elements involved where income must be allocated to costs before profits are paid out. Gallo paid for all recordings and marketing costs upfront. Thami received statements and reports of his incomes and account status and always knew where he stood.
If his portion of recording and marketing costs were not yet recovered (“ under recouped”) then he would not receive payment, although that does not mean the income was not recognized and credited to his account. This included a portion of live performance revenue, as is standard in these types of record deals, although since leaving his booking agent, Gallo did not partake in any of that income.
Any decision to book his own shows was Thami’s decision and we respected that. In an industry that has moved to digital downloads, streaming generates very little income, unless you are generating millions of listens. This is a global standard, not a Gallo Record Company standard. If people supported his music more through radio play, purchases and digital, there would be more money to payout.
Statement 4: Thami wanting to leave Gallo Record Company
It is most certainly true that Thami contacted Gallo Record Company requesting to leave his contract, however he was still legally bound to his contract, and after meeting with him and discussing the matter at length, all parties agreed to release a new single, which was set to be a collaboration with top house artists, due for release later this year.
After the meeting, Thami agreed to stay with Gallo and was positive about working with his label and excited about the new single. Gallo Record Company never requested Thami to pay us anything to be released from his contract.
Statement 5: Refusing to release a track featuring Maphorisa
Again the above statement is simply not true. We encouraged this and actually signed the contract for him to feature on the song on 24 July 2019 – and Thami went into the studio and recorded as per the contract.
One of the other featured artists on the track, not associated with Gallo, pulled out of the deal at the last minute, meaning that the track was never released. Any breach of this contract will be handled by the parties concerned accordingly.
Statement 6: Gallo Records did not contribute to Thami’s memorial or funeral, or gave too small an amount of money
Firstly, anybody who gives money towards a remembrance should be thanked, no matter the amount. The memorial was primarily put together by friends, family and Gallo staff, with the support received also from the music industry at large. Funds were raised by Gallo and friends, and interested parties who kindly contributed.
Gallo’s focus was always more on ensuring a funeral and in order to assist in getting Thami a proper burial. We thank everybody who contributed financially and came forward with financial assistance – we are so grateful to you all.
The funeral in Mtubatuba will be going ahead and Gallo Record Company is assisting, and in touch on a daily basis regarding the next phase of costs for consideration. There are processes and systems in place, and we are doing what we can to assist – which should be appreciated and not taken as an opportunity to attack the record label or its employees.
Thami Shobede was, and always will be, a part of the Gallo Record Company family. We will always remember Thami in the fondest way, his boundless energy and beaming smile will be sorely missed at our offices, and the loss that we feel overwhelms us daily.
In closing, it is important for our artists to make sure they have a proper will, succession planning, and are registered with relevant societies that have facilities like funeral plans to support them, and realize, like all of us, that there will come a time where our loved ones will require a proper send-off.
The music industry is bigger than just Gallo Record Company and we should be supporting each other. It’s one thing to suddenly support or not support an artist, but let’s support our artists when they are still alive.
Buy their music, stream their songs, play their songs on the radio, go to their concerts. This is how we help them, and let’s channel that into remembering and honoring his incredible memory. #RIPThamiShobede