Musicians confer on remuneration models

HARARE - Conflict in bands over remuneration can be reduced drastically if musicians comply with the Copyright Act, the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) has said.

The call was made by Zimura director Polisile Ncube at a discussion dubbed “Zvemagitare/Band Matters” hosted by the Book Café on Thursday.

Ncube told the discussion, whose other panellists were Fred Zindi, musicians Hope Masike, Clive Mono Mukundu, Edith Katiji and Mokoomba manager Marcus Gora, that all agreements on money issues must not infringe the Copyright Act.

“For instance, if a work has been created by two or more people, they have copyright,” she said.

“Before you agree on anything as a band you have to be guided by the Copyright Act.

“I have noticed that people are mixing up issues here, so my advice is for you to look for the Act and if you do not understand it, come through to our offices and we will gladly assist you.”

The Zimura boss also explained that the artistes who assist copyright owners to create music are entitled to what she termed “neighbouring rights.”

“If you have neighbouring rights you have a right to part of the royalties.

“In a band, those that don’t own copyright own neighbouring rights. They have a right to 50 percent.

“This applies to the dancers and instrumentalists. Fifty percent of what the band then earns will be divided between them,” she said.

During the discussion Mukundu, a veteran lead guitarist and music producer, emphasised the need for artistes at all levels to be credited for work done under other musicians.

“It is an artiste’s right to be credited or not to be credited. If you didn’t buy my rights you have to credit me if I want to be credited.

“It is also important to give credit for record keeping and reference purposes in case you want to perform elsewhere and they are doing a background check on you,” said Mukundu, who once played in Oliver Mtukudzi’s Black Spirits.

“You should be clear from the start on payment terms and everything so that you do not encounter any problems.

“There is nothing obvious in business, you state what you want me to do for you and I tell you how much I want to be paid.”

Edith WeUtonga, a famous female bassist and caretaker chairperson of the recently formed Zimbabwe Musicians Union, said remuneration in her band is based on prior agreements.

“When I started the band we had an agreement on how we operate.

“They know that the money comes from gigs so when we don’t have gigs there is no way I can pay them,” said WeUtonga.

“I was once part of a band which had no particular leader or owner where we faced many problems. I was then advised to start my own thing and this has worked.

“We already have set rules and guidelines on payments, rehearsals and everything to do with the band.”

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