22 May 2023
Premium TV and brand-led content label Supercollider, part of Zinc Media, is joining with Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures and Sabrina Elba’s Pink Towel to make PAID IN FULL: The Battle for Payback for public broadcasters CBC and BBC. The new series, produced in association with Catalyst, examines the systematic exploitation of Black artists by the music industry and explores what it would look like for Black artists to receive reparations.
The series is commissioned by CBC and the BBC, and funded and co-produced by a partnership between Abacus Media Rights (AMR) and Media Musketeers Studios, with AMR distributing internationally. The announcement has earned broad media coverage.
PAID IN FULL: The Battle for Payback documents the extent of the historic injustice suffered by the music industry’s Black artists, including the disparity of profits received by them, despite having created the records that have driven the fabric and culture of popular music. Joining the dots between earlier decades in the story of the music industry, from jazz and rock and roll to soul and rap, the series will also look at racial inequality in the music industry both today and in the past. PAID IN FULL: The Battle for Payback will bring viewers all the way up to the present day, documenting the current state of play and will spotlight those who are fighting for change.
The series features contributions from MK Asante Jr, bestselling author, rapper, award-winning filmmaker and professor. Raised in Philadelphia, Asante is the author of the multi-year Washington Post Bestseller Buck and critically-acclaimed It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop, a bold look at the post-hip hop generation. Asante is a Sundance™ Feature Film Fellow for the movie adaptation of Buck and also directed the prize-winning Starz TV documentary The Black Candle and wrote/produced 500 Years Later, winner of five international film festival awards. Also contributing to the series is Lawrence Lartey, Director of Innovation, Industry and Enterprise at Ravensbourne University London. For six years, Lartey has worked with Obama’s Foundation on their My Brother’s Keeper initiative. He has produced and consulted on documentaries for BBC 4, BBC Radio 1, and Channel 4, including How Hip Hop Changed the World with Idris and MK Asante.
Tanya Shaw, Managing Director, Zinc Television, says: “Far from being a straight music documentary, this series will explore the music industry within a racial context and reflect the history of exploitation within the industry. It will also major in on conversations of structural racism and those who have worked so hard to expose them.
“Whether it is getting exclusive access to legendary music venues like Berlin’s Hansa Studios or talent such as New Order, the team at Supercollider is second-to-none in creating programming that truly understands the music industry. We are thrilled to be working with Idris and Sabrina Elba and the team at Green Door to help bring this important subject to light.”
Idris Elba, CEO, Green Door adds: “This is a story that touches all of us. It's about the people who created the soundtracks of our lives in popular music and the pain of their exploitation. It's also about bringing the music industry to account for the injustice inflicted on generations of musical talents who have been deprived of their rightful rewards both financially and in terms of status and respect. At the heart of it is the need to make amends - granting acknowledgement and paying back what is due."
Jonathan Ford, Managing Director, Abacus Media Rights, comments: “Funding and co-producing series such as this is an important part of AMR and Amcomri Entertainment’s remit, and highlights our commitment to getting strong projects greenlit. We were extremely keen to be part of this incredible production, which will bring much-needed focus to a topic that requires attention from the industry and the public. We’re certain the excellent teams at Supercollider, Green Door and Catalyst will combine to do the subject justice.”
Sebastien Janin, Managing Partner, Media Musketeers Studios, adds: “We are thrilled to be co-financing and co-producing this landmark project. The subject matter is hugely important and deserves to be in the spotlight. Working with such a talented production and distribution team will ensure the series reaches the widest possible audience.”
Jennifer Dettman, Executive Director, Unscripted Content, CBC, adds: “We look forward to sharing this important series with audiences in Canada, offering a necessary and in-depth exploration of the structural racism inherent in the music industry and its impact over the decades.”
Supercollider’s work seamlessly moves between premium documentaries, high-budget short-form films for brands, event television and stadium and arena-size live events. The label is led by Emmy-nominated Creative Director Mike Christie, whose music projects include event work on Live 8 and The Brits, and documentaries including: the Grierson-shortlisted Sky Arts feature Hansa Studios: By The Wall 1976-90; Two Tone Britain for Channel 4; and Suede: The Insatiable Ones and New Order: Decades, both for Sky.
PAID IN FULL: The Battle for Payback (w/t) was commissioned for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer by Jonathan Rothery, Head of Pop Music, TV and Rachel Davies is the Commissioning Editor, and was commissioned for CBC and CBC Gem by Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, and by Jennifer Dettman, Executive Director, Unscripted Content. Michelle McCree is Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Docs. It is Executive Produced by Greg Sanderson for Supercollider, Idris Elba for Green Door Pictures, Sabrina Elba for Pink Towel and Julie Bristow for Catalyst. The showrunner is David Upshal. The series is being distributed internationally by Abacus Media Rights.