Haitian Music Industry (HMI) star Michael “Mikaben” Benjamin signed a licensing and distribution agreement with Warner Music France earlier this month. Warner Music signed him under their Caribbean Pop division, and is entering the international market with the single, “Ti Pam Nan.” Released in Haiti in December 2014, the single, which is a collaboration between Benjamin and recording artist J. Perry, officially launched in Europe on July 29, 2016.
“The long-term agreement that was negotiated between Warner Music France and Mikaben Production comes with an option of a complete four album distribution deal,” said Georges Andy Rene, the attorney who represented Mikaben during the agreement. “Such action proves that Haiti’s culture is beautiful and very exportable.”
Benjamin is a long-time musician in the HMI that boasts an impressive discography featuring high-profile collaborations with HMI stars, such as the now-disbanded Carimi and T-Vice. Earlier this year he briefly served as lead singer for Carimi, following frontman Mickael Guirand’s short hiatus from the group, before t’the band’s ultimate ending months later.
In an effort to promote the importance of protecting copyrights as an artist, Benjamin registered the single with Haiti’s Bureau of Copyrights. The HMI is notorious for its off the books, lax approach to recording and professional deals. The industry has few recording companies, and doesn’t have a sturdy, enforceable framework where artists’ work are protected against copyright theft or are fairly compensated for their work.
Benjamin is not the first Haitian-born artist to sign international deals with a major label.In 2012, J. Perry’s Dekole was featured in Zumba’s “Mega Mix 33” volume.In 2013, J.Perry released “Bouje,” which he performed at Zumba’s 2013 Orlando Convention.