Star FM Prefers The Old Way Of Doing Business To New Technology

Vendetta Mtunzi Avatar
Star FM HQ

Star FM recently made a clear announcement to music artists on their Facebook page and on a flier that circulated on social media saying they do not accept nor will they play any music sent to them via email or any social media platform as they wanted the artist to physically submit their CDs to their radio station.

The flier read:

Best practice worldwide demands that every radio station pay each artist for each song they play on air. In order for the radio station to be able to pay for artists there are certain important details about the music which need to be captured into the radio station system at the time of submission, and these are printed on the physical CD copy. Artists are advised to drop off their CDs at the station in order for us to get the Control code number found on the hard copy CD. Once that is done we are able to pay artists royalties for their work.

Star FM’s Deputy General Manager, Piwayi Dzuda confirmed that this was indeed how Star FM operates.

Now their audience did not take this announcement well as they bombarded the station’s Facebook page with comments saying they could not believe that Dzuda was going against technology and still operating in an old age way at an era were technology had become dominant.

So now I wonder what Star FM does after accepting these hard copy CDs, do they play the hard copy over and over again? We all know a hard copy CD can be easily damaged or scratched and if this happens do they have another hard copy waiting? Or does Star FM accept the hard copy CDs and then convert them to soft copies? Now that’s interesting. Too much work indeed.

There seems to be no excuse for them to opt for hard copies, that’s like being backward. It could be easier for an artist to just send an email with all the details they require to be printed on the hard copy CD and then attach their music, this would be faster and more common sense really. I can imagine where they keep those hard copy CDs that upcoming artists submit to their radio station. They probably have a room or full house dedicated to the hard copy CDs, considering many artists in Zimbabwe and more upcoming. But who knows.

We spoke to someone from Star FM who confirmed they do not have a platform were artists could send their music online. When we asked why they do not have the online platform yet, she simply said she did not know. If an employee who is at the fore front of the company does not know why the company she works for has not yet introduced a very important platform for their artists then that might mean one thing: there has never been a plan to advance.

As big a company as they are, Star FM is supposed to have such a platform already. If not now then when? It might seem like Star FM is not planning on an upgrade from the old to new anytime soon. They have not told their audiences who have been asking them if they were going to introduce an online platform for submitting music.

So they say this is best practice around the world? Really? Does the bringing your CDs physically also mean the station has to vet your appearance? What is their deal?

Ayati, who is also part of the team at Star FM said this is the way they have been operating and they are hearing the concerns from the public and they are working on upgrading from old to new. She went on to say right now operating in the traditional manner of CDs is the best they can do.

Star FM said they encourage artists to be registered with Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA), an association of composers and publishers of music that was created with the purpose of protecting the rights of musicians under the copyright law.

Meanwhile, Star FM said they do not work with unregistered artists!!! This means if one is thinking of venturing into a music career then they have to consider registering under ZIMURA for their songs to be considered and probably played by Star FM.

Ironically, international artists whose music is played on Star FM submit their music to a company called Radio Express in California. Star FM then pays an annual license fee to Radio Express and get an access code to the Radio Express Music Portal. When they get into the portal they are able to listen and then select the music they need. They go on to move the selected songs directly into their play out system, confirmed a Star FM representative.

It seems as if there is really no valid explanation for Star FM to require a physical submission. Are they just making life difficult for upcoming artists? The station has a lot of online activity going on, why not provide an online platform for artists to send their music on, after all its cheaper for artists who can not afford to go there because they are working or do not have bus fare.



  1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Don’t focus on the artists only, there’s at least 2 parties involved here. The broadcaster and the artist, at minimum, then there’s the music label/producers amongst others. What happens when a song is received, via email, and is found to have been leaked by a disgruntled individual? Or, if the musician doesn’t have full rights to release the song? Your presumption is that artists wholly own rights to distribute their music. It is also possible to submit a song you like, but is not yours to distribute, maybe you received it via Whatsapp or from Chillspot. The broadcaster thus has to protect themselves from potentially illegal activities such as piracy and IP theft.

    Having music on a CD is proof that the song has been published. I assume some form of identity documents are also required to prove you are the said artist on the CD cover, and just in case something comes up later after the song is broadcast cast on radio. With physical submissions the person who submitted it can thus be held accountable without any element of doubt. Email submissions on the other hand can be spoofed, or if someone has access to your email they can pretend to be you and leak unreleased songs. Who is held accountable in those instances?

    A nefarious person may even record an offensive, or controversial, song and submit it via email purporting to be Sulu or Tuku. By the time anyone figures out what has been done, I’m sure some damage would already have been done.

    1. MegaBoost

      For a Tech blog your research is very poor. If a radio station is encouraging artists to register with Zimura inorder for them to get paid royalties each time their song is played then the station is only protecting these artists. We should be worried about the stations that are allowing artists to send music via email and playing the music for free. You must also consider that artists steal music from each other so a contractual agreement with a station keeps the rightful owner of the music on record or atleast a traceable reference. Please musataure zvamusinga zive. Artists understand this industry better.

  2. Lein

    Interesting read indeed, poor research made, and very strong statements made without a statement from Star FM themeselves. I quote “that might mean one thing: there has never been a plan to advance”. We usually get shocked. There are a lot to consider. I applause StarFM in trying to protect artists from leaks and actually doing what they do to pay the artists. But interesting read indeed..