Burning Spear Vs EB Reggae

Burning SpearIn another instance of a Reggae superstar airing supposed issues with their record label or distributor Burning Spear has lashed out via his facebook page and is calling for a boycott against one of the top American reggae distributors, Ernie B’s Reggae, proclaiming the company has repeatedly and knowingly shipped bootlegs copies of his records.

An Observer article noted that Spear had, in a Facebook post from February, alleged that “they bootlegging all of our music and trying to use the police to get us arrested. Time to unite, it’s our music that feed them.

In a second post, dated February 13, Spear called for the California-based Ernie B’s to be shut down completely or he would refuse to play any future shows, which was quickly reversed.According to a unitedreggae.com post, Spear had suggested he was going into exile due to the issues. He then posted he had secured some of the best lawyers in the world and plans to sue for missing royalties.

Ernie B of course vehemently denies any wrong doing disputing Spear’s claims and issuing the following statement:

In 19 years of doing business I have never seen an illegal copy of Burning Spear’s music pass through our warehouse, nor have I been offered any, nor have we stocked or sold any.

When determining the validity of the claims that Burning Spear Music is making against us, it should be duly noted that those same claims are being made against virtually every company that they have ever dealt with. We continue to hold a deep respect for Spear’s legendary works and hope that they will decide to start selling the music again. We understand their frustrations of dealing in this business. We also understand the ease at which some wrong ideas may be adopted (about us, for example), perhaps due to misunderstandings or the spread of malicious rumors.

We hope to see their product available again soon. We have always praised the amazing quality of the content and the packaging!

With regard to our shipping policy, we ship hundreds of boxes overseas daily (mostly vinyl) and about 1 out of 1,000 result in a customer complaint regarding damaged or lost goods. We generally issue refunds with no questions asked.

Burning Spear (aka Winston Rodney) has always been a focal point, a firebrnad for things he strongly believes in and was been on a path of self distribution for many years as a way to truly be the master of his own work. Is this just another case of an artist being taken advantage of or a misunderstanding on Spear’s part? Is Ernie B at fault or his he just the target of an attack by an artist that doesn’t understand completely how things are working in the new music landscape?

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.