ZBC settles musicians’ debt


Vasco Chaya

THE State broadcaster ZBC has finally cleared its debt to Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura), the Daily News reports.

For the past couple of years, the music rights organisation and ZBC fought over the refusal or delay by the latter to pay for the songs played on its stations.

“Over the past five days, they (ZBC) paid $982 002 in total clearing debt up to December 31, 2019,” Zimura executive director Polisile Ncube-Chimhini told the Daily News.

This comes as Zimura had in past years been granted a High Court order to attach ZBC property over outstanding royalties. The High Court granted them an order to attach 15 ZBC vehicles to pay off the 2009-2010 debt which had accumulated to $707 421, 13.

By last year, ZBC had managed to clear half of the debt.

“Now, only six months of 2020 is due; they are yet to confirm the figure,” Ncube-Chimhini said.
ZBC pays $5,31 to Zimura for each song played on their stations.

The musicians’ revenue collecting agency — which has a mandate to protect and promote rights of music composers, authors and publishers — collects money from different public organisations such as radio stations and night clubs, and then distributes royalties to musicians depending on the number of airplay received in the period under review.

The payment exercise is done on every June 1 save for this year when it was pushed to July 1 because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With a membership of about 3 167, Zimura last week distributed $2 million to musicians with the lowest paid ones receiving $0,75 each while the highest paid artist pocketed about $40 000.

Last year, Zimura paid royalties to about 2 500 musicians with the highest pocketing $5 000 while at least 700 musicians got nothing.

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