Trace Africa caught up in royalties fracas with Zim artists
Trace Africa is reportedly guilty of not paying up the royalties owed to Zimbabwean artists for their music videos.
Trace Africa was launched last year and in that time they have allegedly not paid Zimbabwean musicians any royalties. The Zimbabwean Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) is spearheading the campaign to make sure that Trace Africa recognises that they have to pay up.
The director of ZIMURA, Polisile Ncube is currently working with Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO). Working together with SAMRO is a strategic move since ZIMURA can only license music aired in Zimbabwe. The organisation is working to ensure that Zimbabwean artists get their royalty money no matter where their music is played.
“There are procedures to be followed for royalties’ transmission to happen and our documentation and distribution department is in touch with SAMRO for the computations and royalties’ dues. Copyright is territorial, so we can only directly license what is broadcast in Zimbabwe, otherwise we rely on our sister organisations outside our territory,” said Polisile.
Action to be taken
The senior vice president at Trace, Leo Manne is in full support of musicians taking their cases to ZIMURA.
“Regarding music royalties, it is important that each musician check with the Zimbabwean collecting society because they have a reciprocal collecting arrangement with SAMRO, who collect royalties from us, as a South African-based and registered business.”
Trace Africa acts as an all important platform for the promotion of African music that would otherwise not get airplay on international TV. It’s just a shame when music rights organisations are forced to run after stations like these in order to get them to pay up.
It’s another reality of a worldwide music industry that abuses the rights of artists. With enough pressure and media attention perhaps Trace Africa will pay up their royalty debts.