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Artists embrace online music platform

Music pirates’ days of reaping where they did not sow may soon be over.

By Wellington Zimbowa

Artists are now determined to come out of the piracy-induced drought, thanks to a new anti-piracy application by technology company Astro which is set to see music sales rebound.

Zimbabwean artists have embraced the digital and encrypted online music sales platform.

Called the MobiStore, the technology will see a song costing US$0,45 while a 10 track album will sell for about US$4,50. The development is set to alleviate the plight of programmers, musicians and other artists who have been reeling under piracy.

Filmmaker Enock Chihombori of the Gringo Trouble Maker fame, broke to tears at the National Arts Merits Awards upon being conferred with a prize, as he narrated how piracy had “killed” him as he had failed to recoup the US$48 000 he had invested in the film’s production.

“Artists are making good productions but they are failing to make money and as Astro, we are making this platform to make sure that artists can depend on their talent for a living,” said Astro representative Leonard Mufati.

He was speaking at an engagement forum with artists, recently held at Alliance Française ahead of the product launch later this year.

Victor Kunonga, Cindy Muyavi, Ba Shupi and Clare Nyakudya are some of the artists who graced the event.

Although artists embraced the idea, it remains to be seen if the cost, which is similar to that of original CDs in book and musical shops, will spur pirates to crack the codes in a bid to reach out to ready market owing to the highplaced value.

But the company maintains the move will bring value to both artists and the public as one can buy selected music at a nominal price.

He said one track would cost a customer US$0,40 including data costs, adding that not all songs in an album would top the charts.

Mufati also called for more counter-strategies by musicians towards piracy.

“As Astro, we are suggesting that when an artist launches an album, for the first three months they should not make a single CD. They should push sales online.

“That will enable the artist to make good returns on their product and by the time the CDs or DVDs are produced and the pirates latch onto them, artists would have at least made something,” Mufati said.

He said MobiStore content was encrypted such that once a song is downloaded on their phones for instance, that song could not be played on any other gadget, even via bluetooth. In the case of the purchased music being reproduced by computer onto a disc, he said, the music or movie would not play because of the security features.

Musicians welcomed the development saying it secured their future and also made it possible for them to reach out to an international audience.

“This is definitely the way to go. We cannot say piracy will completely be wiped out but at least the artist will get something. Artists should also view this platform as just another alternative to sell their music to international audiences,” said Kunonga.

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