Piracy continues to eat through the gains made by local artists, the latest victim being gospel songstress Princess Chitsulo.
Chitsulo was geared to hold the celebration of her Nyimbo Yanga DVD on October 6 at Chrich Gardens in Blantyre, but pirates have played a fast one on her as the DVD is selling on the market.
The heartbroken singer said Wednesday that she has postponed the launch from October 6 to October 27 to sort out the mess.
“I am hurt. I worked very hard to put this DVD together and to have vendors selling it before its launch is disturbing. Vendors are selling a pirated DVD written Nyimbo Yanga by Princess Chitsulo,” she said.
Chitsulo said she, and her team, is working very hard to get to the root of it.
A statement from Princess Chitsulo Music Ministry says they are very disappointed with the act.
“We want Malawi to know that Princess Chitsulo’s Nyimbo Yanga DVD has 12 songs and it is not yet out. Whoever you find in the street selling it, be assured that it’s a pirated copy,” reads the statement.
Chitsulo said, as of now, they have not managed to trace those who have produced the pirated copies.
“I cannot say much but there was an incident which happened, in the sense that my producer’s hard drive was stolen from his office while he was working on the songs. And we, as a team, suspect that the person who took the hard drive had a purpose,” Chitsulo said.
She said she has not postponed the Nyimbo Yanga DVD celebration because of the Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf).
“It has nothing to do with Baf; we were geared to go for this celebration because the two are different events. Everything was in place for the celebration but we just want to make sure that we clear this mess,” she said.
Chitsulo said a lot goes into the production of music videos.
“We put a lot of effort, time and resources to come up with videos. Actions by those who pirated the DVD are retrogressive and should be condemned in the strongest terms. It is such acts that derail the music industry,” the singer said.
As a singer and composer, Chitsulo said she survives on nothing but music.
Recently, musician Dan Lufani also came out to announce that his music video had been pirated before its release. This, said Dan Lu, happened after unknown people stole a hard drive.
But some quarters have said artists need to be extra careful when working on their projects, indicating that thefts of hard drives are now happening frequently.
“I think artists need to wake up. Incidents of hard drives being stolen are becoming a norm. There is need for artists to safeguard their works,” said an artist, who did not want to be named.
Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, said the incident was not healthy for Chitsulo.
“It is disturbing and let me also say that we have a new Copyright Act and, once the pirates are caught, the law must take its course. People should not be reaping where they did not sow,” Mhango said.
The Mum leader also said artists should strive to protect their projects by doing a groundcheck of people they work with.
He then called on artists to change focus by working with Arts Production and Marketing Cooperative (APMC) which is, among other things, working on CD and DVD distribution as well as production.
“I am not trying to discredit other people but APMC has come in to sort out some of these issues of piracy and they are doing a lot, including [running an] online store. We, as Mum, will join hands with artists on piracy,” he said.
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