Artists in bid to curb piracy

Musicians and actors have resorted to selling their works on the streets as the problem of piracy continually threatens their careers.

A survey conducted by NewsDay showed that producers of popular Zimbabwean movies such as Lobola, Go Chanaiwa Go and street theatre dramas are selling their material in the streets.

Artists said traditional marketers were short-supplying their material on the market, giving a chance to pirates who amass a lot of revenue through illegally reproducing the CDs and DVDs.

Joe Njagu, one of the producers of Lobola which stars Munya Chidzonga, said since the release of the movie in February, sales of the DVD have soared.

“We have employed aggressive marketing by selling the movie in the streets and also pegging the price at $1 — which is competitive — and it has worked,” he said.

Njagu added that local sales of the movie had reached 100 000.

“We are yet to gather statistics of all the international and regional sales to come up with the total figure.”

The sales team can be seen almost daily at Copacabana commuter rank selling the movie from a private car.

“We realised that the only way we could curb piracy was to do what the pirates were doing, so we sought clearance from the Harare City Council to sell our product in the street which has minimised piracy,” said Njagu.

The movie, which Njagu said was produced at a cost of

$53 000, has become a profitable venture.
A leader of a group called Vabati Vechipangano, Paul Ngwenya, said they would stage a mini-show in the city centre and then sell their discs to interested fans.

“At least we are getting royalties from our work. People who are interested in our work can easily access the material from us after we give them highlights and in this way we are curbing piracy. We sell the discs for $1 each,” said Ngwenya.

The trend will likely see many artists joining the bandwagon as piracy constantly affects their revenue.

In the past, Peter Tangwena was the only artist who was known to sell his music to fans at shopping centres.

Joe Njagu, one of the producers of Lobola which stars Munya Chidzonga, said since the release of the movie in February, sales of the DVD have soared.
“We have employed aggressive marketing by selling the movie in the streets and also pegging the price at $1, which is competitive, and it has worked,” he said.

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