by Brenda Phiri (Arts Correspondent) | The Herald
LOCAL artistes stand a chance benefit from an initiative by a local non-governmental organisation, HIV/AIDS|Zimbabwe (HAZ), that launched a music website were Zimbabweans can sell their music online.
The platform, called Music263.net, is a music website that uses the iTunes technology to ensure that artistes benefit from all the downloads of their music.
The director of the service, Fungai Chakara, spoke on the month-old initiative that is registering success among local musicians.
“So far, the response we have had is positive with more than 30, mostly upcoming artistes uploading their new tracks. What happens is that once one exclusively uploads their music, fans can download the songs for US$1,50 per song. HAZ, in turn, takes 10 percent of the music sales that will be forwarded towards programmes of the HAZ,” she said.
Chakara added that the initiative might be a first of its kind in Zimbabwe but other countries such as South Africa and the rest of the developed countries were embracing the technology. Artistes are awarded an opportunity to make profit from their music while helping a noble cause.
“Any artiste that upload a song will have a log in code that allows them to monitor the downloads and other statistics about their songs. The money then goes directly into their bank accounts or EcoCash, Western Union, Visa or whatever means that we have agreed on with the artistes,” she said.
Tavonga Chikwava, the assistant director, also highlighted that through the initiative, they were hoping to make music a self-sustaining business venture.
“For a long time, musicians have been making losses through piracy. This platform, however, aims to curb that and if artistes come through, they can curb this problem.
“They will also have an opportunity to penetrate other markets, especially Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. It is only a matter of time before Music263 grows to be a credible official site where Zimbabwean music is found,” he said.
Chikwava added that artistes like Flem B, Alexander “Anonzi Xndr” Mutumha, Mannex Motsi are among artistes networking on the platform. Flem B of the “Handidzokere Kumba” fame is currently enjoying the most downloads so far.
Renowned poet and musician Albert Nyathi commended the initiative but said it would only succeed if its operations are above board.
“I have not heard of such an initiative before but it is commendable. Some of us have had thousands of downloads for our work, but if this is to be translated into cash then it is a noble idea. I just hope there will not be any cheating on the part of the founders.
HAZ is a non-governmental organisation that helps to care for people living with HIV and AIDS. Its directors are United States-based Zimbabwean doctors Kevin Munroe and Joshua Dziba.