Are pirates the cattle-rustlers of the music business?

“Piracy is a disease that has engulfed the whole music business and musicians are being robbed of their hard-earned labour,” says Amai Charamba.

It seems the music business is crumbling. Record sales have declinedwith the advent of technology that makes it possible to distribute music more cheaply than the prices set by recording companies.

Legitimate CDs cost around $5 and comtaim around 20 tracks. It’s possible to get 80 songs for $1 at pirate outlets and from street vendors.

It’s said that piracy has become the number one job for unemployed young people, who work for companies on a commission as their only way to make ends meet.

The Gulf complex is the epicentre of piracy, with dozens of youths hanging around the complex perimeter.

Swimming against this tidal wave, musicians have withdrawn from recording contracts with big companies and moved into backyard productions just to eke out a living.

Gospel artist Kudzi Nyakudya started selling his own music in person when he found he couldn’t make a living from profits from authorised retail outlets.

“Generally, most recording companies are not making profits because of piracy and backyard studios mushrooming in every city and town,” said a producer at Metro Studios.

A growing number of artists have divorced themselves from recording contracts and are now working hard at building their own brands and establishing a distinctive musical identity.

“I saw that selling my productions personally was the only way to enjoy the fruits of my labour,” said Fungisai, selling her music on a street in the city.

Various musicians have sanctioned the government initiative to impose a lengthy jail term on piracy law offenders, who are likened to cattle thieves.

Not all, however, believe piracy is purely negative.

“Most people see piracy from a negative angle, focusing on the loss of money. But, it can be a blessing in disguise to musicians who appreciate its power to spread their music globally,” said Honey Vybes, a crew member with Luscious.

Some musicians also find that while their recorded music is enjoyed on the cheap, the fact that it becomes more widespread brings them larger audiences to live concerts.

Post published in: Entertainment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *