The Sunday Mail
Prince Mushawevato —
ONE of Zimbabwe’s top music promotion companies, JIVE Zimbabwe has signed content distribution agreements with local mobile network companies in a deal that could be a panacea to the piracy scourge, which has torn to shreds the local arts industry.
Musicians have over the years have been failing to reap proper rewards from music sales as a huge chunk of their work is pirated and sold through informal channels for a pittance.
Piracy has resulted in a number of artistes developing unorthodox music distribution styles including selling their product at prices that are not comparable with their counterparts in the region.
Accordingly, Jive Zimbabwe whose aim is to promote local arts and culture through online platforms has signed agreements mobile network giants, Econet, NetOne and Telecel.
Under the contract, the music promotion and distribution company is expected to distribute content to the mobile networks, which will be sold to willing mobile network subscribers at an agreed price. Payments to artistes will also be made at approved intervals.
The Sunday Mail Leisure saw content partner commercial agreements between Jive Zimbabwe and respective platform, and network providers, which entail among other services, caller ring back tones, ring tones, full track downloads and streaming.
These agreements will enable signed up artistes to have access to other territories – among them – Jamaica, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia to name just a few.
Artistes are encouraged to drive promotion of their own content, which will be on these networks. Jive Zimbabwe has agreements with all mobile networks in Zimbabwe and artistes that sign up with Jive will see their music being sold across all networks.
The content is being sold under Buddiebeatz, Teletunes, and OneMusic – for Econet, Telecel and NetOne respectively.
Founder and director of Jive Zimbabwe, Benjamin Nyandoro, was last week upbeat about the Content Partner Commercial Agreements he signed with the mobile networks. He said the deal was certainly going to bring relief to musicians.
“It’s a new initiative that we are moving along with. Piracy has caused untold suffering not only within the music sector but the overall arts industry. Therefore, it is our duty to come up with initiatives that help support artistes,” said Nyandoro.
Speaking as guest of honour at an album launch held in the capital, Minister for Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Honourable Supa Mandiwanzira recognised electronic platforms as one of the best ways to promote the arts.
“The best way to make profit from music is to sell it on online platforms. Can’t we come up with more electronic platforms like iTunes that promote music?” said Honourable Mandiwanzira.
Jive Zimbabwe is a wholly owned Zimbabwean initiative, which has in the past four years of operation managed to create an online music store. And Nyandoro hints they are stopping at nothing.
“According to Potraz the number of active mobile phone users is more than 12,4 million meaning this is a platform that can provide good business not only for mobile networks but the artistes as well,” remarked Nyandoro.
“The content that Jive Zimbabwe is going to supply to the mobile networks on behalf of the artistes is going to be paid for by subscribers at an agreed fee and the money will be distributed according to agreed standards. The deals are already running and we are in the process of bringing artistes on board.”
The tunes that one can hear when they call someone on their mobile phone are charged for as low as US20c per week. A mobile subscriber gets to choose a song from their favourite artiste, which their callers listen to while the phone rings.
And to promote transparency, sellers who happen to be the musicians or recording companies are able to add and manage their products, view customer demographics and also view sales reports including commissions directly from the mobile networks selling their music in cases of disagreements.
Also, Jive Zimbabwe is adding a new feature to this package. Artistes will now have little or no hustle in announcing and launching new albums.
The mobile networks in question working in partnership with Jive Zimbabwe will periodically send artistes launch dates and there will also be an option to buy the music through the phone after the album is launched.
Jive Zimababwe has works with several artistes who include Alick Macheso, Suluman Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah, Tariro neGitare and Hope Masike.
“It’s not only about profit. We are in the process of also trying to promote local music consumption in Zimbabwe. Already big artistes have shown interest in working with us on this platform and I’m certain it will help,” said Nyandoro.
Suluman Chimbetu’s publicist Joe “Local” says the move was long overdue.
“We are not getting any meaningful revue from selling CDs and such technology will help boost our revenue. We just hope though that the handlers of the project will be as transparent as possible,” said Nyamungoma.
Jah Prayzah who is also signed up to the programme, said he trusts Jive Zimbabwe’s capabilities and track record in the arts industry.
“Their services go beyond just submitting my music to mobile networks. They promote and drive sales. I am happy to be part of this initiative,” said Jah Prayzah.
“Rising contemporary musician Bryn Kadengu or simply Bryn K weighs in: “For a very long time our challenge has been to find ways to convert what we can do with our talents to make money and this initiative will help us get some real benefit from our music.”