Afro Jazz musician and film actress Selmor Mtukudzi

Selmor Mtukudzi’s album now on sale before its official release

For just one dollar (US$1) or its equivalent in RTGS you get to receive and listen to the music before its official launch.

AFRO-JAZZ musician Selmor Mtukudzi has announced that her upcoming album is now on sale and fans can receive and listen to the album before its official launch, all for just US$1 or equivalent in EcoCash/RTGS.

Selmor, who is releasing her forthcoming seventh album in “a couple of weeks”, says she has devised a method that could beat the scourge of piracy which has denied many articles revenue from their work.

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The upcoming album is ironically titled “Ndangwara”, which literally means “I’m now wiser”.

In a statement announcing the new strategy on social media, Selmor, the daughter of national hero and Afro Jazz legend Oliver Mtukudzi, said it was important to cut out the middlemen most of who end up benefitting more than the artists.

“I am releasing my 7th album in a couple of weeks. I would like to ask all you my family here to pre-order your copy of the album. For just one dollar (US$1) or its equivalent in RTGS you get to receive and listen to the music before its official launch,” Selmor said.

“We will keep a register of all those who paid and share their names here on my page. This idea means you will be buying the music direct from the artist and we cut out the middle man.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could support our favorite artists in this manner for just a USD$1?” she wondered.

How to pre-order Selmor Mtukudzi’s album

  1. To pre-order the album “Ndangwara”, one has to send US$1 or RTGS equivalent to +263772807282 or +263719660080.
  2. Once done, one then sends their proof of payment plus their full name and WhatsApp number to the above numbers so they can receive the album.
  3. It is important to note that the EcoCash account must reflect the name SELMOR MTUKUDZI.

Artistes have long cried about piracy as well as unethical promoters who reaped where they did not sow.

“It is so disheartening to see a number of musicians in Zimbabwe crying about how bad the industry is,” Selmor decried.

“It’s even more saddening to hear them say they want to quit music. It’s true that things are hard, but what’s painful is that as musicians tirikubirwa takatarisa. We have to devise new strategies to fight piracy.”

Fighting piracy

Mary Jaure, administration assistant of the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimra), a union of composers and publishers of music, said piracy has reached alarming levels, but harsher penalties, such as those applying in other countries, could reduce the problem.

“Livestock theft attracts a sentence of up to10 years in jail,” said Ms Jaure. “That sentence is informed by the knowledge that to steal someone’s cattle is to rob them of their livelihood.”

Faced with rising large-scale piracy, partly blamed on a decade of severe economic instability, local musicians are calling on the government to toughen the punishments for offenders in order to curb the practice.

People arrested for pirating music, films and other art forms normally get away with fines as little as US$100 or are sentenced to community service, where the court orders the guilty party to do odd jobs at hospitals or schools.

The Copyright and Neighbouring Act, makes it an offence for any person to sell, let, hire, trade or distribute any article to such an extent that prejudices the owner of the copyright in question.

In 2007, a music album by Alick Macheso, a popular local artist, hit the streets of Harare weeks before its official release, prompting a wave of arrests of suspects. One of those arrested for duplicating the collection, was sentenced to perform 105 hours of community service.

More recently, 15 people were arrested in Bulawayo for selling duplicated music. One of them was given a suspended six-month prison sentence and ordered to perform 210 hours of community work while another was fined $100.

William Tsandukwa, who has served as Macheso’s manager, said the punishment given in the 2007 case demonstrates the ineffectiveness of copyright theft laws.

“That is why local musicians are surviving on live shows,” said Mr Tsandukwa. “If the sentences remain like this, an offender immediately gets back to his old ways after paying the fine because [the fines] are not frightening enough.”

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