Wednesday, 24 June 2020

ZIMURA GOES AFTER ONLINE PLATFORMS


Since their licensing five years ago, some local commercial radio stations have not paid artistes their royalties.

This has seen the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) engaging the stations, warning that if this fails, they will seek the courts to bar them from playing local artistes’ music.

The radio stations include Skyz Metro FM, Hevoi, 98.4FM, Great Zimbabwe Radio station, Breeze FM and Yafm. The stations were licensed to cover a 40km radius surrounding their locality.

Zimura executive director Polisile Ncube-Chimhini, in an interview said there were some stations, without mentioning names, that were paying artistes their royalties, while others were defaulting.

“Negotiations with all others are in progress and some are paying in instalments. If negotiations fail, we’ll apply for court interdicts to stop them (radio stations) completely from playing music,” Ncube-Chimhini said.

Quizzed how much the stations owed, she said: “Final figures can only be arrived at when negotiations are finalised, log sheets and financial statements supplied.”

Ncube-Chimhini however said Star FM and ZiFM Stereo are up to date with payments while Khulumani FM which is under ZBC is expected to send its 2018 contribution this year. 

According to Ncube-Chimhini, ZBC owes $800 000 in royalties.

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, there has been a rise of online platforms that have been playing music yet some artistes whose music is being played on these shows are not benefitting. Ncube-Chimhini said Zimura was in talks with producers of the shows to see how the artistes can get the royalties.

“Of late, there’s been a rise in online use of music and we believe the Covid-19 lockdown contributed to this rise. Our licensing department has engaged some of the online platforms, but the process was slowed down as we’re waiting for the approval of our new tariffs by the Ministry of Justice,” said Ncube-Chimhini.

The approval of the new tariffs will see Zimura charging online platforms for the use of music.

“The proposed tariffs that we sent to the Ministry of Justice are proposed charges for online use of music by owners of different platforms. Collecting royalties from online platforms will be done after identifying the platform and how the music is used. Thereafter, we’ll apply the tariff depending on usage,” she said.

Zimura is a non-governmental revenue collecting society whose mandate is to protect and promote the rights of music composers, authors and publishers in Zimbabwe. Chronicle

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