Musicians' unions hold royalties meeting

HARARE - Zimbabwe Musicians Union (Zimu) will join hands with two other musician unions, Tumai and Creative Arts Union, on Friday in a crucial meeting pertaining to royalties.

The meeting was precipitated by a spate of paltry royalties offered to their members over the years including in the recent pay out just made in June were some received as little as $6.

This infuriated the unions, hence the discussion on whether there should be drastic measures to be made such as starting their own collecting society independent of Zimura like happens in other countries.

“Among other things, the meeting will discuss royalties’ distribution, royalties owed by ZBC, standard minimum rate per play and per performance.

“The unions intend to push for minimum rates paid to its members so as to improve the lives of musicians who have, over the years, not reaped the rewards of their talent.

“Media houses do not involve musicians in coming up with the rates per play while club owners and other promoters pay whatever they like to a musician depending on popularity.

“There have been incidences whereby musicians have been taken advantage of by being made to play for free or for food in the name of trying to promote their brands.
Zimu, Tumai and CAU want this to end,” Zimu chairperson Edith WeUtonga said.

“Further, the meeting will discuss the need to press on its agenda with the incoming minister of Arts and possibly the president to press on promotion of musicians.

“The unions and their members argue that the industry has been largely excluded from the mainstream government planning and this should change to help the arts grow the economy.

“Elsewhere in South Africa and Nigeria, the music industry is a multi-million dollar industry which contributes considerably to the fiscus.

“In Zimbabwe this is not the case because government does not have a deliberate plan to support the industry,” she said.

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