Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Sunday, April 24, 2011

MBC has K50 Million for Musicians

Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) is sitting on over 50 million kwacha for Musicians, and it is seems not perturbed with the need to give to Ceaser what is due to Ceaser.
Fifty Million Kwacha! What can this money do to a life and a career of a musician? This question was prompted by a posting I made some weeks ago called ‘Royalty Politics Maul COSOMA’ where I was saying the government is toying with the urge to privatise the Copy Right Society of Malawi (COSOMA) merely because it is demanding back the money using all means necessary.
I was saying the money owed to musicians is eight million kwacha, but acting Executive Director for COSOMA Dora Makwinja wondered why I was afraid to exactly say that in fact the money is in the legion of the said fifty million Kwacha and that they have not come to the dead end in their quest to ensure that they recover all this money.
I have said in the past and I will say it here again that MBC is being irresponsible to (for lack of proper word) dilly-dally for years on end when it comes to cutting its coat according to its cloth.
Last time COSOMA was dishing out money to musicians from Broadcasting Royalties was on December 29, 2009 and Makwinja at that function decried shameless tendency by MBC, Star Radio and TVM that love to eat their cakes and have them.
At the same time it was rightly put by the then Minister of Tourism and Culture Anna Kachikho, who had observed that the musicians would have received more money had these institutions paid what is due to Ceaser.
I had said then how it beats all forms of imagination, that big institutions like MBC which is state owned, meaning; they operate using my tax under state subvention and have room where they make a lot of money through advertising, can fail to pay out musicians.
Last time I had declared that it is so easy; if you do not have lemons do not desire lemonade, the same with MBC, TVM and Star radio, if you do not have money for royalties please do not play the music!
But even when I repeat this, perhaps I should demonstrate what I did to drive a point home. I communicated to several musicians themselves to establish what they think fifty million kwacha can do to the industry as well as individuals.
Out of about fifteen musicians that I contacted only five came back to me, although they did so differently. While the hoarse voiced local Ragga star Binge texted back, MacDonald Mlaka Maliro called to find out who had texted him with the question, Overtone Chimombo asked for my email address to respond better. Bon Kavalasaza called to explain his side while encouragingly Lucius Banda called to arrange that we meet and talk.
BINGE
Binge said with that kind of Money the Malawi Music industry can transform tremendously as it can help in putting down big musical shows; introduction of music awards, publication of musical Magazines etc.
LUCIUS BANDA
I arranged to meet Lucious at Nyimbo Studios in Area 15 where he is recording his latest album.
As a man who has done and seen it all in the Malawi music industry, the soldier simply summed it up this way: “Malawians Love Music but Hate the Musician.” He justifies this by saying this is why they are not bothered to support the progress of the music industry in the country. Why should they pretend that MBC is right? He wonders.
He said with his shares from within this fifty million kwacha he would have established his own top-notch recording studio; buy a Coach for the Zembani Band so that they keep checking punctuality whenever on a tour.
He observed that unlike in the past where sales had not nose dived; now the money is needed more than ever before.
Lucius says he pays tax every time he does business musically or otherwise but MBC which has even stopped playing his music is using his very tax for its operations and failing to pay him an outstanding debt through the royalties...
He insists that all this is because Malawi does not respect musicians and this is reflected more with the radio stations that when they are doing newspapers reviews they will jump the pages that are carrying out articles on music or generally entertainment.
BON KAVALASAZA
Telepathically, Bon Kavalasaza mourned for artists like Lucius Banda whom he said are being owed 10-year-old debt on royalties.
This money can uplift the lives of musicians and their families besides improving their career and yet all routes have been travelled to make MBC give out the money with little success, so he observes.
In his case, he says for the last three years he has been involved in all measures to try to get this money; he says he has just been told out of the whooping K50m MBC has now released a million kwacha.
OVERTONE CHIMOMBO
Surprise, surprise, Overtone started by wondering why COSOMA is saying MBC owes musicians K50 million only; does this mean that MBC has paid the other monies in the last 10 months? I have no answer as well.
Chimombo says last time COSOMA had a meeting, with musicians where they said MBC was keeping more than K57 million. More so that MBC is still playing the figures should be increasing.
MBC’s reluctance to pay, Chimombo says, is an infringement on the musicians' rights and that this means the musician is tortured psychologically considering that the musician knows he has money somewhere being held by someone illegally.
Some musicians, Chimombo attests, are failing to do some of their projects like recording albums and shooting videos because they are broke considering that Malawian musicians are the poorest in this part of Africa.
Chimombo calls this oppression and manipulation which has been going on since independence.
He then turns to government that has COSOMA and MBC under its belly to rescue the ‘underprivileged’ musicians. He thinks government can do it but it has chosen to look the other way.
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