Just hours after Tamil filmmaker Pa Ranjith called out Rolling Stone India for not featuring rapper and singer Arivu on their cover, allegations have surfaced that the AR Rahman backed music platform Maajja did not pay the rapper for his work in the viral track Enjoy Enjaami.
Well known personalities from the film industry have questioned Maajja on social media. Sources close to the rapper told The Quint that the company has called for a meeting with Arivu on Thursday. The singer has not responded to The Quint’s calls.
In response to a tweet by Dalit writer and activist Shalin Maria Lawrence, Noel Kirthiraj, one of the owners of Maajja said, “Maajja's ethos is to empower artists with rights to their songs. This is to eliminate precisely this practice of artists giving up rights for a nominal fee. Artists own the rights and share the revenue earned on an ongoing basis, instead of a token payment. No artists were paid.”
Sources told The Quint that terms of payment will be discussed this week after which both parties would issue a statement.
YouTube Video of 'Enjoy Enjaami' Doesn't Credit Arivu for Lyrics
In response to another user asking for the fee to be made public, he said, "Respectfully, that is not public. What I can say however, considering Enjoy Enjaami is the most successful independent Tamil song to date, it would be the highest income generated for an independent Tamil song by the artists."(sic.)
The music video was released on YouTube on 10 March 2021 and has gained more than 319 million views and 4.3 million likes (as of 24 August 2021), becoming the first Tamil independent single to do so. Through the song, rapper Arivu tells his grandmother’s story of forced migration to Sri Lanka and how many communities have been completely robbed off land and rights due to caste discrimination.
“Enjoy Enjaami was entirely Arivu’s concept. He sang it and wrote the lyrics and everyone else were supporting artists. It is ironical that he was sidelined in a song that talks about caste and discrimination,” said a source.
Interestingly, the YouTube video of 'Enjoy Enjaami' does not mention credits for the lyrics, which was written by Arivu.
“The discussion on Arivu’s treatment isn’t a triviality, nor ‘taking it away from music.’ I truly hope Arivu at least had a contract in place, got paid his due as a creator and is getting the royalties for the insane hits on Enjoy Enjaami and Neeye Oli,” said singer Chinmayi Sripaada.
Several industry experts have flagged that in the Enjoy Enjaami remix collaboration with Paris-based DJ Snake, parts with Arivu’s vocals were almost entirely removed. The Times Square banner that Maajja proudly touted had no mention or picture of Arivu either.
Pa Ranjith Calls Out Rolling Stone India For 'Invisibilising' Arivu From the Cover
Tamil filmmaker Pa Ranjith recently took to Twitter to question why the Rolling Stone magazine cover had featured singers Dhee and Shan Vincent de Paul, and not Arivu. The Rolling Stones India cover story, titled “Back to the Roots,” had only a small quote of Arivu.
Ranjith had tweeted, “Arivu, the lyricist of Neeyaoli and Singer as well as lyricist of Enjoy Enjaami has once again been invisiblised. Rolling Stone India and Maajja, is it difficult to understand that the lyrics of both the songs challenges this erasure of public acknowledgement?”
Director CS Amudhan tweeted, “If the Arivu erasure wasn’t a deliberate and blatant move, singer Dhee, music composers Santhosh Narayanan and AR Rahman should speak up, otherwise it will go down as a historical injustice. These are people we believe are on the right side of the good fight, I really hope they do the right thing.”
Following the backlash, Rolling Stone India put out a tweet, listing the names of artistes who are part of their cover story and named Arivu, besides music composer AR Rahman, Canadian hip-hop artiste Navz-47 and music producer Santhosh Narayanan.