Local artists are crying foul over the rise of membership registration fees for Zimbabwe Music Rights’ Association.
Aspiring members are now expected to part with a non-refundable $80 from the previous $50.
According to Zimura, artistes should pay $80, provide two recent drivers’ licence size colour pictures, three copies of CDs finished and published.
Players in the music industry have castigated the rise in membership fee, saying it will hinder upcoming artistes willing to join the arts body.
Music promoter and Jibilika founder and director Plot Mhako said the decision must have been “excited by seeing young unemployed Zimbabweans venturing into music and to them, that’s money”.
He said: “This increase is unjustified and should be condemned. This is an incompetent association that purports to represent the interests of artistes, yet they struggle to ensure artistes get their royalties and have done nothing to help stop piracy, but they can penalise musicians by increasing fees without justification.”
A musician, Blessed Zikali, popularly known as 8L, who topped the Power FM music charts with his track Gangster Love concurred, saying: “I feel it negates what we have gained in trying to establish systems that benefit the artistes. While I understand the administrative needs, my question is: If artists can’t pay $50, will they be able to march the $80?
“Maybe Zimura wants to deal with only reputable artistes, but if they raise their fees, they should as well as compensate with good service.”
Gwanda gospel musician Samuel Sakosi, who is a member of Zimura, encouraged the association to improve their service.
But celebrated musician-cum-producer Clive Mono Mukundu said the fee was reasonable.
“Considering the returns, I think it’s a reasonable fee and it’s a once-off thing. So I encourage new artistes to join in. Most of the corporate world prefer to work with an artiste who is registered,” Mukundu said.
Zimura executive director Polisile Ncube said it should not be hard for a serious artistes to register.
“The rise will be effective from sometime this year and it is because we work with a validation committee that scrutinises every work to avoid issues of plagiarism. So that committee needs to be paid. That’s why we called for a raise,” she said.
Zimura’s rates in 2015 were pegged at $2,15 per airplay from Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and 20 cents from Star FM.
ZBC and Star FM rates per airplay differ, the reason being that Star FM do not collect licence fees, so they pay lower rates.
The charge per play changes from year to year, depending on the amount received by Zimura from clients.