On the 7th of December last year, LUMS hosted its first ever Indie Music & Food Festival. The festival was a collaborative event by the LUMS Culinary Society and the LUMS Music Society. On the music side, there was an entire lineup of Indie artists, including Mehdi Maloof, Poor Rich Boy, Jimmy Khan and Shajie.
This is Shajie.
Shajie is an Indie artist based in Karachi, who can often be found wondering about the ownership of ducks (same tbh). Shajie was one of the artists who performed at the Indie Music Food Festival last year. Yesterday, he shared a post on his Facebook page, saying that the LUMS Music Society hasn’t paid him for the gig yet, despite 2 months having gone by. He also said that the society representatives weren’t answering his calls either.
This is Poor Rich Boy.
Poor Rich Boy is an Indie-Rock band from Lahore, whose vocalist is affectionately called duck, so maybe ye battakhain Umar Khan ki hain? Poor Rich Boy also performed at the LUMS Indie Music Food Festival.
Shajie’s post was then shared by Poor Rich Boy.
They said that they were with Shajie on this matter, and that they too have been treated similarly by the LUMS Music Society. PRB also talked about how bands should rally against those who try to exploit artists.
This is the LUMS Music Society.
It has been around since 1999, and was founded by Ali Noor. They’ve been been putting on gigs and holding music competitions since…well…1999. They’ve even got an album out on Patari.
Here’s what they had to say in response to the allegations by Shajie and Poor Rich Boy.
They said that it so happened that the payments to the artists were delayed a bit due to final exams and winter break, but all artists had been payed by January. They also said that the only point of contention could be the fact that the amount that was promised to the artists on the MoU’s was tax inclusive, so it was greater than the amount that the artists would actually get, because the money they would get would go through a tax deduction. The society claims that this had been communicated to the artists both verbally and in written, and that the LUMS administration is completely in support of this claim.
You can read their entire post here.
Both Poor Rich Boy and Shajie wrote follow up responses to the LUMS Music Society’s response.
Here’s what Poor Rich Boy said.
And here’s Shajie’s complete statement, which he gave to MangoBaaz Campus, in response to the LUMS Music Society’s post.
It’s interesting to note how LUMS Music Society consider themselves the self-appointed authority over what is worthy of a response and what is not. They felt they did not even need to reply to my queries until I took it to social media and my post started getting traction. This really illustrates my point about The Music Society of LUMS not responding to any of my calls or texts because maybe they think they are too good for that.
The contract clearly said that I will be paid after a week of performing which did not happen thus they dishonoured their own contract. After a week LUMS stopped responding to my calls. I was not informed about any holidays or finals week. Their response message made a very bold claim about work ethic, deliverance to their promises and ensuring a hostile free work environment.
I did not receive the full amount promised to me verbally or on contract. The payment receipt said they had deducted a tax for rendering of Services Non Company Non Filer which comes out to be 17.5%. Many agencies pay this themselves instead of deducting the amount from their clients. This is called looking out for your guests. These hidden charges were not mentioned to me at any point during the contract signing. I might also add that I have performed several shows for several platforms and this has never happened to me. I travelled from Karachi to Lahore to perform for LUMS without an advance which is an unusual thing for me to do. However, I adore my fans at LUMS and I felt I owed them this favour.
This society also falsely accused me of not even playing a full 30 minute set. I’ll let the recording of my entire set speak for itself where you can see it was clearly longer than 30 minutes. I mean, recordings can’t lie right? But I guess the Music Society of LUMS can.
It’s embarrassing to go through all this trouble for money I don’t need and drama I don’t care for. I don’t want anything to do with The Music Society of LUMS. It’s been an upsetting ordeal for me.
This is not the first or the last time that this is going to happen. It has become very common for people to exploit artists like me who do not have any legal counsel or corporate backing to guide them on how to sell or market their music. I loved playing at LUMS because of the audience. I would do it again only for that audience. The fact is that I did not put up that post because I wanted money. I put it up to showcase how independent musicians are mistreated in the music industry here in Pakistan. How we have to beg for our performance fees and how we are bullied when we call out these corporate labels.
Yeesh. And that is that. These are all of the responses and responses-to-responses (yet). It’s true that artists are very vulnerable to exploitation, and its also true that taxes suck. I just hope this gets sorted out and that no bad blood remains on either side, and we can all just focus on our mutual love and appreciation for music, while keeping in mind the efforts of the artist.
This has been your update on the recent drama in music industry. Make of it what you will, just be sure to tell us what you think in the comments below.