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Local music producers not getting just dues

Tue, 19 July 2016 16:48
by Johanna Mafwila

A producer, in the musical sense, is known as a genius who brings an artist’s lyrics to life be it by adding in the right set of drums or just stroking the keyboard right.
But as important as they are to all musical elements, Namibian producers have been feeling neglected and pushed to the back shelves.
When registering their music at NASCAM artists are encouraged to stipulate the contributions of all parties that helped create the songs, but even with that it still appears that some artists fail to acknowledge the work of producers by omitting their names on the forms thus resulting in a loss of revenue.
Producers play many roles in the careers of artists, being either the one to arrange the ideas of artists into a workable song or being the creator of an entire sound and just having an artist lay tracks onto their beat.
“The artist and the producer need to come to an agreement before working together as this could reduce the conflict. If an artist has an idea of what they want they go to a producer who has the know-how to put it into a song. In some instances producers come up with the beats and artists just buy them from them” said John Max, NASCAM’s Chief Executive Officer.
Copyright infringement issues can be very diverse and as such artists and producers are encouraged to reach an agreement before getting any work done. A producer who has been constantly complaining that he has not been acknowledged for his works is Araffath Muhuure, who has worked with numerous NAMA award winning artists in the country.
“This has happened to me millions of times, even the latest album that I worked on. I went to NASCAM and found that the artist had not registered my name. The artist did not mention the value of my contribution” said Araffath.
He went on to add that producers are losing a lot of money because of not being acknowledged by the industry, adding that producers are a big part of the music puzzle. ”Artists are running to South Africa to go record that side and those of us back here are suffering” said Araffath.
Most producers in the country are now choosing to reach an agreement with artists for due recognition of work done, while others, such as renowned producer Sam-e lee Jones, instead prefers to approach NASCAM with evidence of their contributions on work done to a product of a particular artists to gain proper recognition. “Unfortunately the system is flawed and there is a lot of room for error, be it intentional or unintentional” said Jones.
Producer Glo Solani also agreed with Jones adding that NASCAM is more interested in defending artists instead of the composers, writers and producers.
“Take for example Gazza and Elvo. Gazza wouldn’t be who he is if it wasn’t for Elvo, but if you look at the living standard of Gazza and Elvo there is a big difference” said a frustrated Araffath.
It is only fair that producers receive their due penance when it comes to works they have done, as they too spend hours on end making sure that their product is not only the best but receives crowd admiration, but all that admiration and acknowledgement is credited to the artist in most cases leaving a producer on the side lines not even granting them the security in knowing they could be paid in royalties.