Update: Here is the official press relesae from Awakening (source):
Without You Album Release and Awakening Records
19th January 2009
It has come to the attention of Awakening Records that there are certain rumours and statements circulating claiming that Sami Yusuf has left Awakening Records and that Awakening Records is releasing Without You – the third album of Sami Yusuf – without his approval and that the album merely consists of demos. Awakening Records has so far taken careful steps to not publicly disclose any information or discuss the matter in order to minimise any harm to Sami Yusuf, his fan base or even Awakening Records itself. However, Awakening Records would like to clarify that:
1. Awakening Records is a reputable worldwide company and takes every measure to ensure that it has full rights to release a product and deliver it to the highest quality. It will not jeopardise its relationship with its partners, artists, customers, investors and supporters by releasing a product that it has no right to release.
2. Awakening Records has produced pioneering Islamic music albums since 2003 to provide an alternative cultural vision for the global Muslim community. In this effort, it identified, supported, supervised and managed the work of Sami Yusuf since May 2003.
3. First and foremost by God’s grace, then through the gifted talent of Sami Yusuf and with huge investment and tremendously hard work undertaken by Awakening Records, Sami Yusuf is now a household name across the global Muslim community inspiring millions of Muslim youth to be proud of their faith and identity.
4. Sami Yusuf is signed exclusively to Awakening Records for five albums. Awakening Records has previously released two albums – Al-Muallim and My Ummah and the third album Without You was released on Monday 12th of January 2009. Under the current agreements, all recordings are exclusively owned by Awakening Records.
5. Awakening Records has made substantial payments to Sami Yusuf for the third album which was due for release in August 2008 – as advertised on www.samiyusuf.com since May 2008 – and has full exclusive rights to release and distribute the album worldwide. Any other individual or company releasing any of Sami Yusuf’s music albums or works can only do so by infringing the copyrights held by Awakening Records.
6. The third album is a complete and high quality album. It consists of 11 professionally recorded studio tracks owned by Awakening Records. All of the songs were composed, arranged and recorded by Sami Yusuf and so were all the vocals without exception.
7. Due to some internal contractual disputes – primarily resulting from third party interferences – Awakening Records had initially decided to postpone the release of the album till the outstanding matters were resolved.
8. It now seems that the dispute will take longer than expected to resolve and thus Awakening Records has decided to release the third album whilst other outstanding contractual issues are resolved. It is not in the interest of Awakening Records or Sami Yusuf to continue to put all work on hold indefinitely.
9. The matter is not in the courts as claimed but is currently being dealt with by lawyers representing Sami Yusuf and Awakening Records.
10. It has further come to the attention of Awakening Records that certain people are taking this opportunity to spread false information and rumours about Awakening Records and Sami Yusuf. Despite what is happening, Awakening Records holds Sami Yusuf in high esteem and is proud to have him as one of its artists. We urge people to refrain from spreading uncorroborated and partial information that only harms Sami Yusuf and Awakening Records.
11. The relationship between Awakening Records and Sami Yusuf is not merely contractual. All the directors of Awakening Records without exception are close personal friends of Sami Yusuf and hence the matter is very delicate, sensitive and complicated.
12. The issue is best left to be sorted out by Awakening Records, Sami Yusuf and their respective lawyers. Awakening Records is not willing to engage in gossip about its artists. Such action is not only unethical but also un-Islamic. Awakening Records has no intention to make this matter a public debacle and will thus issue no further statements.
Although contractual disputes are the norm in the ‘music industry’, it is unfortunate and it deeply saddens us that it has come to this. However, we are hopeful that matters will be resolved amicably and as swiftly as possible. In the meantime, enjoy the creative brilliance of Sami Yusuf’s long awaited third album, which can be purchased fromwww.awakeningstore.com, iTunes and music stores worldwide. Awakening Records is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album to Islamic Relief’s Gaza Appeal.
19th January 2009
Thanks for your email, we would like to clarify that:
1. Sami Yusuf is signed exclusively to Awakening Records for 5 albums. Awakening Records has already released two albums – Al-Muallim and My Ummah and is releasing the third album today.
2. Awakening Records has paid Sami Yusuf for the third album which was due for release in August 2008 (as advertised on http://www.samiyusuf.com and has full right to release and distribute the album.
3. Due to some internal contractual disputes Awakening Records had initially decided to postpone the release of the album till the outstanding matters were resolved.
4. It now seems that the dispute will take longer than expected to resolve and thus Awakening Records has decided to release the third album whilst other outstanding contractual issues are resolved.
5. It has come to the attention of Awakening Records that certain people are taking this opportunity to spread false information and rumors about Awakening Records and Sami Yusuf. Awakening holds Sami in very high esteem and is honored to have him as one its artists.
6. Although contractual disputes are the norm in this industry, it is unfortunate that it has come to do this but we are hopeful that matters will be resolved amicably and swiftly.
Please find below a press release issued today by Awakening Records.
So now that I have seen both sides, I can see that Sami Yusuf may be breaking his own contract with them. I can also see the tone of their words. Sami appears to be harsh and condemning while Awakening has the braveness and humbleness to respect Sami and speak good about him. May Allah end this dispute and bring peace between the two parties.