Piracy continues to derail artists in the country, especially musicians, who are failing to make ends meet despite investing a lot in the studio.
This has forced some musicians to stop producing albums and concentrate on singles, which they sell through different platforms.
However, with this challenge under their nose, gospel singer Ethel Kamwendo Banda has called on fellow artists not to lose hope but to keep on fighting as there is hope at the end of the tunnel.
“All I can tell fellow artists is that let us not give up, let us keep on fighting; it is a huge task but God is on our side and we will surely win this battle. It costs a lot to put together a song and is discouraging that pirates want to benefit where they did not sow,” Ethel said.
Recently, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) came out to engage the Judiciary, police and artists to bring awareness on the Copyright Act of 2016 which has provisions for stiffer penalties.
“There is more to be done and, to minimise cases of piracy, artists themselves should hold hands although we have Cosoma and other stakeholders. As the owners of the work, we need to be in the forefront, unite and speak with one voice; otherwise, if we do not do this, we will continue to suffer,” the singer said.
Ethel, who started with secular music before turning gospel, said it has been a long journey to be where she is today.
“It has not been easy. There have been lots of challenges but God has been there to fight my battles,” she said.
Ethel said music was no longer the same as sales have completely gone down on the market.
She said, with online music sales, the situation is changing.
“There are some musicians who depend on selling their albums and do not hold live performances while others do both. So, those who only depend on sales have really been affected,” she said.
The gospel singer said it is high time people realised that there are musicians who solely rely on music for their living and, due to piracy, their families are affected as well.
“Musicians have family members who look up to them and, so, pirating our music means killing not only the music but the families as well. People should promote our artists by buying original works,” the musician appealed.
Ethel is set to release three albums later this year, having stayed for close to seven years.
“It’s been close to seven years without releasing an album. It’s not that I was afraid of piracy or I run out of ideas but I believe in God’s plans. God’s plans are the best; hence, coming out now,” she said.
The ‘Ndiumboni’ star on February 6 dropped the song ‘Ndili Pa Mzere’ which, she indicated, is the title track of one of the albums.
“The video for ‘Ndili pa Mzere’ is already out and people can buy it on www.apmcstore.com. This is the first album and it was produced by Joseph Tembo at Groove Magic. Putting the song out is part of promotion,” Ethel said.
The other albums are Timuyimbile Yahweh produced by OBK and Ndinu Woyera, a worship album which was produced by her son Peter.
“The landscape has changed now and we, as musicians, also need to change to be at par with our colleagues but without running away from our identity. These three albums are all different and I should say that the other album is targeting the international platform,” the songstress said.
With the three albums set to come out, Ethel has 14 albums in total.
Her other albums are Amen Yesu Wandimasula, Yesu Amayankha, Sindilindekha, Hossanah, Ndiumboni, Ambuye Wazatheka Bwanji, Ndinu Nokha, Zabwino Zonse and Chete.
Ethel’s husband, who doubles as manager, said the three albums will be on the market by next month or April.
“As Spectrum Communications, which distributes music for different artists, we are making sure that we have the three albums of Ethel on the market in good time but, again, we want to give people a good product,” she said.
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