After the death of Zimdancehall chanter, Saul Musaka, affectionately known as Soul Jah Love in 2021, there was heated debate around his estate, royalties and assets.
Who owns the rights to his legacy now?
The Zimdancehall hero was a figurehead in the local music sector for a decade since breaking onto the scene with his singles “Gum-Gum”, and “Ndini Uya-Uya” in 2012.
He was one of the most influential voices in the Zimdancehall genre. At the time, many people predicted that he would have a long and lucrative career.
Soul Jah Love died of diabetes at only 31.
His so-called fortune and assets were left to his family, but who owns the rights to Soul Jah Love’s legacy and work?
Days after his death, it is alleged that his family dispelled rumours that the musician was in financial dire straits.
The family revealed that he left behind an estate that includes multiple housing stands, two commuter omnibuses (kombis) as well as a BMW X3 vehicle.
However, just like Micheal Jackson, Bob Marley, or 2Pac Shakur who even in their graves are still turning heads with their music, Soul Jah Love is still a topic of discussion on the issue of his royalties and unreleased music.
If Soul Jah Love was alive today, he would answer some of the questions himself.
Jive Zimbabwe, an online music store with a bias towards local music, will today host a workshop at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare to discuss Soul Jah Love’s legacy and royalties as part of commemorations to celebrate the musician’s career and life.
A Soul Jah Love memorial concert will be held tomorrow night featuring various acts to cap the festivities.
Zimbabwe Music Rights Association director of information and publicity, Alexio Gwenzi, said they were responsible for managing and collecting royalties on behalf of the late singer, who was their member.
“ZIMURA oversees the licensing and monitoring of mechanical and public performance usage for all its members, including the late Soul Musaka (Souljah Love).
“According to the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act of Zimbabwe Chapter 26:05, copyrighted works are protected for the duration of the owner’s lifetime plus an additional 50 years after their death.
“This means that Souljah Love’s musical works and other copyrighted materials are safeguarded for this extended period,” said Gwenzi. He said the late musician’s half-brother, Godknows Musaka, has been designated as the rightful heir and beneficiary of Souljah Love’s royalties.
“ZIMURA is responsible for ensuring that the royalties are paid to Godknows Musaka by the organisation’s established policies and procedures,” said Gwenzi.
He added that ZIMURA commends the organisers for initiating this workshop, which serves as part of the commemorations.
“The workshop provides a valuable opportunity to discuss strategies, negotiate agreements, and explore potential partnerships to monetize Souljah Love’s unpublished works.
“Given Godknows Musaka’s status as the designated heir, it is essential to involve him in all decision-making processes concerning the monetisation of Souljah Love’s unpublished works.” Gwenzi implored any producer holding Soul Jah Love’s Music to work with the above-mentioned beneficiary.
“Where there is evidence of an agreement between the late musician and any music producer or publisher, in terms of splitting of royalties that are collected and distributed by Zimura, our doors remain open to assist each other on how everyone can benefit where they deserve to benefit from such arrangements.”
Two weeks ago, social media went agog with news that Soul Jah Love’s commemorations are on the cards, with some sectors keen to know the line-up and plan for the show.
At the time the news broke, Soul Jah Love would have turned 35, as he shared his birthday with his sidekick, Super Yut, who turned 33 on November 22.
Fast forward, organisers of the Soul Jah Love commemorations and discussion seminar about his royalties have said all is in place for the function.
The good thing about the discussion seminar is that it is going to unite producers who have worked with the artiste and will give them an opportunity to unveil or announce any unreleased project they had with the late dancehall king.
Hosted by Jive Zimbabwe, the seminar will not only unite people but also allow television and music producers to work on the late musician’s biopic with acquired research and information. The seminar opened at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe yesterday where various stakeholders were invited.
“The commemorations are in two parts. Tomorrow (Friday) we have an issue to do with royalties and also have music producers who have worked with him to share unreleased projects,” said Benji Nyandoro of Jive Zimbabwe.
Concert is at Padziva, Dzivaresekwa.
“The ownership of musical works is presumptuously said to be entitled wholly to the lead singer, who is generally called the artiste or musician. This notion finds its way through to conversations on earnings, with regards to the sharing of royalties. The untimely passing of Soul Jah Love and subsequent registration of his Estate, ignited difficult conversations around the ownership of his works, released and unreleased.”
Nyandoro said numerous recording studios are claiming to have unreleased material done by the talented artiste and believe they deserve to earn revenue as well.
“JIVE Zimbabwe was mandated by the Estate to initiate conversations with these recording studios to have a working arrangement that deservingly shares accrued revenue among the participating stakeholders, including the producers,” he said.
“Tomorrow (today) music producers are meeting over a braai to discuss their preferred revenue share models, looking at the best practices implemented in other similar cases.
“On Saturday we are hosting the Soul Jah Love Memorial Concert in partnership with Rocker’s Island and Pacific Cigarette Company. Artistes billed to perform are Silent Killer, Jah Child, Kadjah, Dadza D, Chipoko ChaSauro, Supa Yut, and The Conquering Family among others,” explained Nyandoro a.k.a Nyamasvisva.