A BULAWAYO band, Isizukulwane, claims the Voice of America’s (VOA) Studio 7 has not paid any royalties for the use of their popular song, Nanka Amasela – formerly the signature tune ahead of their Ndebele news bulletins — for “almost 14 years”.
BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
A member of the group, Gideon Nxumalo, told NewsDay that they have not received any royalties from the station and do not know the procedure to claim their dues, having failed to reach out to Studio 7.
“Our song has been used on the station for almost 14 years. We have never been paid for its use,” he said.
“We have received royalties from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) through the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura), but never received any royalties from VOA.
“We have failed to reach out to them. Zimura have also tried to talk to them, but failed. There has been no headway in the talks over our royalties.”
VOA Studio 7 Ndebele news producer, Praxedes Jeremiah said they took the song from a free music library, but had since stopped using it.
“We have since stopped using the song, so it is not 14 years and when we used it, we did not take it from their song, but from generic vocal free music from our library,” she said.
A Zimura official, Henry Makombe, told NewsDay that they have had difficulties dealing with Studio 7, claiming it was a “pirate” radio station.
“The challenge that we have with that radio station is that it’s not a proper radio station. It is operating from the United States of America,” he said.
“The management of royalties is territorial, we collect royalties here in Zimbabwe and then pass to the associations that represent the musicians world over, societies that musicians are part of in their respective countries.
“In this case, that broadcasting station is a pirate broadcaster. It is like the pirate selling music in the streets. We cannot expect Gramma to collect royalties from them. What we can do is to try and talk to (musicians) societies in that territory to get them arrested if they can locate them because they are indeed using the copyright material of our musicians here.”
VOA is the official broadcasting service of the United States government, while its unit,Studio 7 broadcasts content for Zimbabwe.