Musicians furious over radio royalties

HARARE - Local musicians have once again contemplated stopping radio stations from playing their music after they were given pittance as royalties this year.

Musicians’ revenue collecting agency Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) recently revealed the State-owned broadcaster ZBC has failed to remit enough royalties for musicians again hence they have done distribution basing on payment from Star FM, ZiFM, and the General on June 1.

The Zimbabwe Musicians’ Union (Zimu) chairperson Edith WeUtonga said they are contemplating stopping radio stations from playing their music as the artists benefit nothing out of it.

“Due to the failure by ZBC to pay what they owe, a sister singer among many others took home $4,50, now considering this is an amount coming from two commercial radio stations, who are paying a rate of 0,25 per play, this is pittance.

“She has her music on most of the ZBC stations, and on sound space her videos are played and ZBC decides they can only pay $42 000 out of a $600 000 dollar debt....this is an insult,” WeUtonga said.

“It is better if we stop them from playing our music on radio because we are getting nothing out of it,” she said.

“They move about in expensive cars and live in expensive houses and eat at fancy restaurants, which come from money that they make by playing our music which in turn makes them very popular and attractive stations, isu todya nhoko dzezvironda (whilst we live in poverty).”

Musician Elijah Mhungu concurred with WeUtonga saying stopping radio stations from playing music is the most sensible thing to do.

“Musicians are being taken advantage of by almost everyone in the society. We have been reduced to a mere punching bag and I am of the view that if we stop them from
playing our music things will change,” Mhungu said.

Brian Nhananga another upcoming artist said radical actions are needed to address the exploitation.

“We are not happy at all. Radio stations should just pay what they owe.

“How can grown-up people be paid less than $50 per year? Radical actions are needed to address this exploitation,” he said.

However, gospel musician Ammanda Sagonda is against the move of stopping radio stations from playing music.

“We are getting a pittance I agree but half-a-loaf is better than nothing.

“We rely on radio for marketing.

“Zimbabwe is still a developing country hence there is no way we can rely on the Internet for music promotion.

“Radio stations should just be considerate,” Sagonda said.

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