Music strategy document gets thumbs up

Melody Zambuko

THE proposed draft of the five-year National Music Strategy document has received thumbs up from artistes.

Crafted by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) and sector partners drawn from the country’s 10 provinces, the strategy document is meant to create an economically sustainable music industry.

The document was produced with support from the European Union (EU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

It is meant to help the music sector operate efficiently and profitably.

The music strategy document draft is informed by key documents, namely the national arts, culture and heritage policy, national cultural and creative industries strategy 2020-2030, NACZ strategic plan (2021-2025), National Development Strategy 1 and Vision 2030.

To achieve its vision and objectives, the music strategy document draft is directed by 10 strategy pillars.

These are music markets and business development, intellectual property, funding, financing and investment, education, capacity-building and training, music infrastructure, music sector statistics and research, media information and communication technologies, music diplomacy and global business, music governance and safeguarding cultural heritage, identity and celebrating diversity.

Music Crossroads Zimbabwe director Melody Zambuko said the development of a music strategy is historical as it has never happened in Zimbabwe before.

“The absence of a strategy could be one among other reasons why business has been ad hoc in our sector. It is my opinion that if the music industry embraces this strategy, then we should ultimately own this strategy and together ensure that all parties take responsibility for their given tasks,” she said.

“The result should be a much more coordinated music industry whose eventual challenges will be addressed in a review of this initial strategy document. It is also encouraging to note that the NACZ’s goal for the arts industry is to see the same exercise replicated in other arts sectors.

She added: “The strategy has identified key areas in the industry and developed principal actions (interventions) that will serve to turn around, revive or facilitate the much-needed viability and sustainability of the music industry.

“It is logical and proactive that the sector is establishing a strategy now when Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has forecast 3,5% contribution of the CCIs to the gross domestic product.

“My remark on that is, if we are to be significant enough to be included in the national fiscus report then we certainly have to up our professional game.”

Top music producer Macdonald “Mac Dee” Chidavaenzi said the pillars illustrated in the document could only be successfully implemented and applied if the players in the sector started treating their music ventures as businesses.

“Notwithstanding the fact that by law we are mandated to be properly registered, I feel that instead of making it a demand to have creatives professionalised, I feel we need to incentivise artists and producers to see the benefits of being a professionally set up business, for example, waiver on paying Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation licences for musicians and producers, duty free importation of musical equipment and production gear for artists and easy access to funds set aside for creatives.”

Mac Dee said there was also a need to open the airwaves to allow more players to widen revenue sources for musicians.

“We can never compare our airplay revenue to our neighbouring countries because their number of radio and television stations remitting towards airplay royalties is higher. This aided efficiency in the royalty remittance and I believe we can also do better as well.”

“Above all as part of regularising our industry, I propose the mandatory activation of musicians and producers’ unions as a standard communication channels between artists, producers, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and our government.”

Music promoter Max Mugaba said the music strategy document draft was a welcome development.

“This music strategy document will provide a pivot point that will offer a platform to create an ecosystem which aggregates all the factors required to give musicians a commercial platform,” he said.

“This will also and formalise profitable and sustainable sector structures, the pivot point package into an organised industry.”

Producer, Clive “Mono” Mukundu said: “It appears it is going to be a good document. It is a good thing that the NACZ is getting input from all stakeholders.

“This also shows that they are taking the music industry seriously which is a step in the right direction since long ago no one would sit down with musicians and ask them what changes they would want made in their own industry.”

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