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Record companies battle piracy

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Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC) and its sister company Gramma Records, which had gone for a year without releasing albums, will this week start clearing the backlog.

ZMC managing director Emmanuel Vhori recently disclosed his company had stopped releasing material because piracy had massively eroded their income.

Speaking on the sidelines of Zimbabwe Association of Recording Industries’ (Zari) annual general meeting in Msasa, Vhori said most artists who recorded their albums with the stable had endured a long wait to have them released.

However, the company yesterday said it would start dropping albums on the market this week after the launch of a programme against piracy.

Vhori said they had approached the Zimbabwe Union of Musicians patron, Webster Shamu, with the intention of launching 100 days of protest against piracy.

He said the campaign, which started this week, was likely to give them reprieve.

“We have tried to raid pirates, but we have failed to make an impact and we hope the new campaign will help,” Vhori said. He said they had been failing to meet production costs because of depleted sales.

“We have been pumping out money shooting videos and the production cost of the albums, but the releases have not been attracting reasonable returns,” he said

“Some musicians like Nicholas Zakaria have even shelved recording. So we have a bitter war on piracy.”

Gramma Records and ZMC had come under attack from various artists who were threatening to pull out their material because of the long delay.

Sources at Gramma say about 10 artists have recorded. Vori said they would produce albums with cheaper sleeves, with a wholesale price of $1 while albums in normal sleeves would go for $3,50
Pirated copies are available on the streets for $1.

President of Zari Emion Sibindi, who is also director of Metro Studios, said this year the association would strongly fight piracy and it had urged law enforcement agencies to desist from corruption to ensure a sustained war against piracy.

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