New copyrights council out to empower local artistes ZICCO chief executive Tafadzwa Masembura said his organisation will be soon rolling out projects for its members.

Arts Reporter

THE recently-established Zimbabwe Council of Copyrights (ZICCO) has breathed new life into the music industry by setting up income generating projects in poultry and agriculture.

The organisation, whose mandate is to collect royalties for its members while safeguarding their copyrights, is making these efforts to alleviate poverty among musicians and those that hold rights for late musicians.

This comes at a time many artistes, rising and established alike, are struggling to eke out a living from their work due to piracy, poor remuneration and limited corporate support, among other factors.

Most artistes are earning their keep from live performances and paltry royalties distributed by other copyrights groups.

Those that are past their prime usually struggle to make ends meet, while a majority of yester-year musicians can barely afford to feed their families.

ZICCO chief executive Tafadzwa Masembura said his organisation will be soon rolling out projects for its members.

“We started our operations last year to safeguard copyright for artistes as well as collect revenue on their behalf, making sure they earn beyond live performances”, he said.

“We want to invest in income-generating projects for our artistes so that they can self-sustain and live comfortably.

“We will soon be rolling out poultry projects nationwide starting with rabbits and chicken farming, expanding as we grow”.

Masembura said income-generating projects will secure artistes from poverty.

“By encouraging musicians to embark on life-sustaining projects like poultry farming, we are enabling them to diversify their income sources,” he said.

 “In this way, have more secure livelihood even in the absence of live shows.”

Masembura said they are organising musicians in groups depending on their geographic location.

“At the moment we are organising our members in groups depending on where they live as the first roll out will be for groups,” he said.

“We will develop as we grow, and we hope the projects will also grow to generating a lot of income.

“We want to avoid the situation whereby our artistes beg from well-wishers to make a living”.

Many artistes have to beg for assistance to pay for medical bills while their families are left with a heavy burden of paying for funerals in event of their death.

Masembura said ZICCO is also securing funeral policies and medical aid for its members.

“We have already begun setting up medical aid and funeral policies for our members and their dependants,” he said.

“We want to restore dignity in our artistes”.

With only a year in existence, ZICCO boasts with a membership of over 1 000 musicians all of whom set to benefit from their initiatives.

Last year 150 musicians, among them yesteryear star Taruvinga Manjokota, popularly known as Sugar Sugar, received royalties sourced from venues that play hid  music among them bars, restaurants and hotels.

To avoid clashing with already established organisations such as the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association who shares the same mandate, ZICCO avoids collecting royalties from venues that have already subscribed to the aforementioned organisation.

“The space is too big for us not to co-exist,” said Masembura. “In that regard, we collect revenue from institutions that are not licenced by ZIMURA and we hope they do the same. Our main aim is to benefit artistes, beyond the royalties they get annually from radio stations”.

In addition to empowering musicians economically, the Zimbabwe Council of Copyrights is actively collaborating with law enforcement agencies to combat piracy. 

By reducing piracy and promoting adherence to copyright laws, the council aims to safeguard the intellectual property of musicians and ensure they receive fair compensation for their work.

Masembura emphasised the council’s commitment to protecting the rights of musicians. 

“We are working closely with law enforcement agencies to create a conducive environment for artists to thrive,” he said. 

“By discouraging piracy and advocating for the respect of copyright laws, we are fostering a sustainable music industry that benefits both musicians and consumers.”

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