AR Rahman distances from ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ label after composer revealed they were unpaid

‘Enjoy Enjaami’ was released in 2021 by Maajja, an independent record label based out of Toronto and Chennai, founded by three Canadian entrepreneurs in collaboration with AR Rahman.
AR Rahman distances from ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ label after composer revealed they were unpaid
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Responding to music composer Santosh Narayanan’s allegation that he and the other artists who made the sensational ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ song were unpaid, AR Rahman distanced himself from Maajja, the label that released the track in 2021.  Maajja is an independent record label based out of Toronto and Chennai, founded by three Canadian entrepreneurs in collaboration with Rahman. The Academy Award-winning musician has now clarified that his role in Maajja was limited to mentorship. 

“I don’t have any financial benefit or shareholding in the company. [I] just did this out of goodwill … All the videos of me mentoring were pulled out long ago,” Rahman told YourStory. Rahman added further that he just mentored YAALL – the global music festival of Maajja, and that the company did not keep him informed about the promises made to artists who produced music for them.  He also said that the YAALL team disconnected from him after he did a few promos and produced a song for the platform. 

The controversy started brewing on Tuesday, March 5, the third anniversary of ‘Enjoy Enjaami’, after Santosh Narayanan made a startling revelation that none of the artists behind the viral song were compensated monetarily. Santosh had composed music for the song, while Arivu and Dhee rendered the vocals.

In a video,  Santhosh said, “We were approached [by the record label] saying that we would own 100% of the rights, revenues, and royalties from the song. The song connected well and it had over a billion streams cumulatively across all platforms. I wanted to spill the beans on how much we have received in net income or revenue to date. We received a whooping zero cents from this song!”

Without naming the label, Santhosh added in his video, “Unfortunately, we have tried to reach out to the label on behalf of the artists, some of them are world-renowned, and we are yet to receive any of the revenue. I am starting my own studio because of this. I want indie artists to have a transparent platform where they can publish their work and earn revenues.” 

Santhosh also pointed out that the label is still receiving revenue from his YouTube channel. “This has been going on forever. This is also one of my first posts on the topic and I just want to say that I am here for the indie artists and will make sure that your dues are cleared,” he said.

So far, the song has clocked nearly 48 crore views on YouTube alone. 

Following the clarification, Santosh extended his solidarity to AR Rahman for being another “victim” of Maajja. He also disclosed that they were bullied by Maajja.

“My dearest @arrahman sir has always been a pillar of support without any expectations through the entire Maajja fiasco and he is also a victim of many false promises and malice. Thank you, sir. Many indie artists including Arivu, Svdp, Dhee, and many others including myself have also never been remitted our revenues in any form and have been bullied with emails,” he posted on social media platform X. 

He further wrote, “I understand that emotions are high and would urge you all to support the indie artists in this juncture. I will definitely triple click on the entire episode with my mentor @beemji and rapper @Arivubeing in the coming days and as many of you know, I wish the best for them with love and want to make sure all indie artists get their fare dues met soon. Here we come.” 

‘Enjoy Enjaami’ was also in the news earlier for controversy about its credits and alleged appropriation. Santhosh Narayanan was credited for composing the song during the 44th Chess Olympiad held in Chennai in 2022. During the event, the song was performed by Dhee and Kidakuzhi Mariyammal, and Arivu took to social media to say that he had written, composed, and performed the song. 

Read: Tiffany ad to Enjoy Enjaami — a look at art, appropriation & the voice of authenticity

Shortly after Arivu’s statement, Dhee, who is also Santhosh’s step-daughter, took to social media and said that the song was a collaborative effort and that she had always credited the rapper. Santhosh further underlined this by saying that in 2020, Dhee had an idea for a song that he composed, recorded, and co-sang, which was later released in 2021 as ‘Enjoy Enjaami’. 

The erasure of Arivu from the cover of Rolling Stone India also created a huge controversy in 2021. The magazine interviewed singers Dhee and Shan Vincent de Paul who were part of Maajja’s music album and featured them on their cover but Arivu, who is a Dalit artist, was sidelined. This also led to a fallout between director Pa Ranjith and Santosh.

Read: Director Pa Ranjith hits out at Rolling Stone and Maajja over Arivu's exclusion 

Read: Rolling Stone India, Maajja must answer tough questions over Arivu’s erasure

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