ZIMURA & ARTISTS desperately need to find each other

The issue of Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) and royalties for authors / publishers & composers of music (I will refer to them as ARTISTS in this writeup) has been topical within the music spaces for years now. It has fast become a clichè. “Zimura yakadhakwa!” (Zimura is in a mess) The BIGGEST question is: Are the artists sober???? 

By Plot Mhako

The recent NASH TV issue has seen a renewed interest around copyrights and royalties. The incident has achieved a lot in creating awareness and provoking an important conversation. The good thing is that unlike ZIMURA, NASH TV has agreed to fix things and act. ZIMURA needs to take a leaf and seize the moment, but also it’s a big awakening to artists.

The myths vs reality around ZIMURA needs to be addressed for the Zimbabwean music industry to grow. The blame game won’t help. Here is some random thoughts. As the lockdown continues, i see more artists asking questions and ZIMURA should expect some showdown unless they act fast.

TO THE ARTISTS

1. Stop being cry babies, get informed, get active, partipate and use the power of your voice effectively. 

2. Artists & all composers of music may need to register with the collection society of their choice and for the Zimbabwean territory ZIMURA is advisable (some have gone the SAMRO route but remittances to Zimbabwe maybe a challenge since Zimbabwe owes other collection societies a lot of money in USD. 

3. Composers who I will constantly refer to as artists need to understand the terms and operational guidelines before and upon registration. 

4. It’s more advisable to register as Some Radio stations require an artist to be registered with ZIMURA when submitting music. Also this is a good revenue stream and helps ensure your copyright is protected and you can earn years after you stop making music. 

ZIMURA is not for singers alone but AUTHORS / COMPOSERS / PUBLISHERS of music are all eligible to register and earn from their work. 

5. When you register with ZIMURA you become a member of the association and your are guided by the terms of the association. Understanding these terms in a must. 

6. Artists (composers) need to declare information on copyrights to ZIMURA.

7. Split sheets are a must and they need to be enforced by composers, instrumentalists, recording studios, producers and anyone involved in the creation of music. This is the document that will give clarity when sharing earnings. 

8. Engage, research, read and understand. Artists need to reach out more and not feel entitled without acting. Ask for professional help. Visit or write to ZIMURA. Get the answers and don’t rely on hearsay. Research on the internet and from knowledgeable people. 

9.  When you are a member, attend the Annual General Meeting. This is where key decisions and board members are elected. If You don’t participate it is of no effect when you complain. 

10. Have a voice: speak, engage and be heard. Do not whisper in corners or Whatsapp groups. Stay informed via their social media platforms and website. 

There is need for the the parties to find each other for the positive growth of the music industry.

TO ZIMURA

1. Right now image looks bad. Fixing this will require a different approach. Acknowledge shortcomings, engage your constituencies more and effectively.

2. Corporate Governance builds integrity. Having competent and capable people in an organization brings a lot of trust. This has to be supported by the actual work. 

3. Make information easily accessible to members, none members, potential members and the public. 

4. Make registration affordable and convenient for composers. 

5. Improve on your Public Relations and reach out. Effective use of digital platforms. The improvement on Instagram and Twitter engagement is very commendable. The upgrade of the website also deserves a pat on the back.

6. Pay royalties in time or at least make an effort to.

7. Push and lobby broadcasters to put in place digital mechanism for playlist logging. 

8. Engage widely before putting in place public performance licensing fees. This includes the ultimate consumers of music. Distribution of such revenue needs more clarity.

9. Your AGM is poorly attended yearly, this speaks to the levels of confidence especially amongst young or new artists.

Make deliberate efforts to engage the young and other key players apart from musicians / singers. 

10. Regular Updates, reports and press briefings will help reduce misinformation and change the widely held impressions. 

11. Take responsibility and accept when something has not been done well. Arrogance fuels a bad image and taints your reputation. 

For more information visit ZIMURA ONLINE

Until next time, the plot thickens…

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