Melissa Mpofu/Walter Mswazie
It is no secret, Alick Macheso’s latest offering – Tsoka Dzerwendo released on Monday is the most sought after album, but it seems those outside Harare are being starved.
While the idea of flooding the album on the market at $1 per copy was to try and curb piracy, Macheso just may have shot himself in the foot as his team seems to have failed to distribute the album well.
Though the capital city, where over 100 000 copies are said to have been sold on the first day of release seems to have been oversupplied, this has not been the case in the Midlands, Matabeleland, Bulawayo and Masvingo provinces where Macheso also commands a huge following.
As a result, pirates have acted swiftly and are selling pirated copies of Tsoka Dzerwendo. Macheso’s original street album comes in silver with track written and black. The pirated copies of his $1 copy are either coming in the form of an MP3 disc with various albums or in different colour with his picture on the cover.
A quick survey on Monday and yesterday revealed that the silver copy of the album was almost non-existent in most places, even though 40 000 volunteers had been reported to have been enlisted by Zimbabwe Red Cross Society to sell the album across the country.
Efforts to get a comment from Macheso, his management and the Red Cross Society were fruitless as Macheso’s camp did not answer our calls while Red Cross public relations manager, Takemore Mazaruse simply refused to answer questions related to Macheso, referring them to the Macheso camp.
But a call to the Red Cross office in Bulawayo showed that the album was indeed available but was probably holed up at their offices.
Asked where the album could be purchased, a lady from the Bulawayo Red Cross office said they had plenty at their office with some being sold on the streets. Asked where about on the streets, she said their volunteers had no fixed points as they were mobile before assigning one volunteer to deliver copies to this reporter.
It however emerged eGodini had been one of their key points of sale. Questioned how many copies were sold on Monday, one of the official vendors said above 200. He however highlighted that business had been slow yesterday.
In Masvingo, it seems the discs were delivered late Monday night and were immediately hoard by piracy “hawks” who are reselling them at $2 to $2.50 to unsuspecting fans.
“The disc vendors have caused an artificial shortage of the album here as they apparently purchased thousands of discs from Macheso’s agents so they resell them at a premium price,” said a disgruntled Macheso fan in Masvingo.
A vendor, Emmanuel Nyadenga who plies his trade at Pick n Pay Supermarket said he was selling Macheso’s album for $2 because of demand.
He justified his act saying he could not resist the “temptation” after many people approached his stall requesting for the album, even before it was released.
“I’m taking advantage of the demand the new album has created since its release on Monday.
“Most official agents have run out of copies and we thought of capitalising on that because we bought the discs in numbers. We’re not pirating, but only selling the discs at a premium price,” Nyadenga said.
Another vendor who operates from ZB Bank, Lawrence Manhanda said he was selling the discs at $2.50 each. From over 100 copies which he had bought for resale, he was left with 20 by yesterday afternoon.
“When people realised that Masvingo had also received its quarter, some of us had already bought the discs from Macheso’s agents that also include Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe which is in Mucheke suburb.
“Instead of people complaining, they should praise us for being more enterprising because we’ve managed to exploit the system to our advantage without depriving Macheso of the potential revenue,” said Manhanda
Some pirates could not care less as they stuck to their old ways of buying one copy, pirating and repackaging it for their own benefit.
These are the ones selling their copies for a dollar while some are even selling for 50 cents.
Macheso’s official agents in Masvingo confirmed they had run out of stock, leaving fans at the mercy of greedy vendors.