ZBC Refusing To Pay Royalties – ZIMURA

The Zimbabwe Music Rights Association has sent out a communique to its members saying that it will not be able to pay royalties out because ZBC, currently the only broadcaster has refused to pay royalties.  ZBC claims it cannot afford the rate it signed for.

ZIMURA also said this in its memo:

Last year the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation undertook to make a down payment of USD200 000.00 on its debt and advised ZIMURA to declare royalties with this amount in mind since it was going to be paid before the 1st of June 2011. On this advise ZIMURA distributed more money than it had in 2011. When ZBC finally refused to pay the promised money, ZIMURA continued to distribute all monies it got from its other licensing activities in 2011 and 2012, hence there is no money for distribution at the moment.

ZMURA has since taken the national broadcaster to court to recover the money owed and stop ZBC from using the artists’ works for free.

This could not come at a worse time for ZBC as new players are set to hit the market soon with Star FM already testing their platform and saying they will be ready to go live within the next two weeks. This puts ZBC in a vulnerable position as artists will now have an alternative. After all, ZBC needs the material.

The situation as a whole is unfortunate as it prejudices artists who work hard to put material out there. That ZBC should sell advertising on the back of being able to provide content for its listeners and then fail to remit money to the artists is a joke.

In this matter, surely the government must intervene for the sake of the arts industry. It can’t say it supports more local content on radio and decide that it should not be paid for.