Urban groovers pull off Metro

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Urban Grooves Association (Uga) has started pulling out urban grooves artistes registered with the association from a local distribution company after a row over royalties and marketing.
Uga last week pulled out Lungisani Makhalima’s albums; Walala Wasala and Ndofefeterwa from Metro Studios to start marketing and distributing them independently, allegedly because the company was not transparent on the issue of royalties.
Joe Machingura, Uga’s public relations manager and proprietor of Heshi Mfeshi Records said in an interview yesterday that the association had come up with alternative ways of selling urban grooves music and was carrying out a massive programme to have artistes properly remunerated.
“Sani’s album has been with Metro for seven years but when we went to collect the master CD and remaining copies for us to start doing everything ourselves we were told that Sani has to pay Metro $88 for production costs and that he could only get the CDs after paying for them.
“Yet this year Sani only received $15 in royalties from Metro, so what is the logic in having them sit on the music? We are setting up structures to get urban grooves artistes properly remunerated because clearly something is amiss here.” said Machingura.
Sani said in a telephone interview yesterday that Metro Studio was not being transparent in their operations.
He said that was why he decided to part ways with them but refused to give more details on the matter.
Machingura who has also started an artistes’ management agency, managing artistes like Sani, Leonard Mapfumo, Cindy, Shinso and Project Fame said Uga had applied to the Harare City Council for a licence to sell at street corners also as a way of doing away with piracy.
The association has since started printing and marketing CDs and approaching retailers like Crocodile Rock, Music Box and Spinalong to sell urban grooves music.
Prolific rapper Enoch Munhenga also known as ExQ said he had also not received any royalties from Metro for his popular Grown and Sexy album which he released last year.
“I have not received a single cent from the album Grown and Sexy – an album that was signed over to Metro for distribution last year,” he said “These guys do not even market our music.
“On countless occasions, I have had people asking me where they could get my album.”
Another household urban grooves artiste, Leonard Mapfumo of the Maidei fame echoed the same sentiments saying that there was a paradigm shift in local music and urban grooves had reached a level where many people loved and bought it.
“Metro is not marketing our music. We do not have anything to show that we are celebrities – entertainment inobhadhara (it pays) world wide – it’s just how the music is marketed that counts,” said Mapfumo.
Metro Studio director Emion Sibindi said that he had no problems with Sani for leaving Metro and that the paperwork was there for artistes to see how their music had been sold. He said artistes could not expect royalties when their music was not selling.