Musicians could be celebrating in the near future when Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) reaches an agreement with the two recently-opened radio stations on the payment of music royalties.
Report by Silence Charumbira
Zimura director, Polisile Ncube, last week said they were currently engaged in negotiations with Star FM and ZiFM Stereo to come up with an arrangement on how the two would reward musicians for playing their songs.
“The stations are doing their surveys regionally to see what other stations do in their countries, whether they pay from gross revenue, expenditure or per play,” said Ncube.
“We are, however, likely to use the pay per play method, which does not have loopholes as the new stations are digital. Digital logging system cannot be edited and is less prone to errors. I am confident that all musicians will be happy after we seal the deal.”
She said the agreed method of paying royalties would run for the next two to three years before they revise it depending on its viability.
ZBC, which has until this year been the sole broadcaster in the country, has been struggling to pay royalties.
This year, musicians and beneficiaries of royalties were left disgruntled after Zimura advised them that they were not able to pay since ZBC had not remitted the royalties yet.
Star FM general manager, Admire Taderera, last week said it was their obligation to pay royalties.
“We met Zimura about it way before we opened the station and we are currently dealing with the legal department to see what we can do about it,” said Taderera.
ZiFM programmes manager Hosea “The Hitman” Singende also pledged that they would do all they could to make sure that royalties were paid on time.
Musicians who spoke to Standardlife&style last week had mixed feelings about the new stations.
Sulumani Chimbetu said he did not expect anything from them.
“Look, ZBC has been failing to pay and we expected something from them but nothing is coming. So it is better not to expect anything, so that when it comes it would be a bonus,” said Sulu.
Widow of the late Fanuel “System” Tazvida, Barbara, implored the new stations to be trustworthy.
“It is incumbent upon them to be trustworthy and pay in time because when Zimura gets the money, they must be able to invest it and also be able to pay artists on time and remain with the profit for their functionality,” said Barbara.
“They must also remember the late musicians in as far as airplay is concerned because we survive on the royalties.”
Rasta-kwasa musician, Dino Mudondo, said he was hopeful the new stations would bring a solution to musicians’ royalty dilemma.
“We just hope the new stations will bring us glory. Airplay royalties are very important in this era when we have low sales because of piracy,” said Mudondo.
“The coming of new stations inspires us to do more but we just hope they will not behave like ZBC that failed to pay royalties this year. Broadcasters should be concerned about our welfare.”