Munyaradzi (Munya) Chanetsa has dedicated his professional life to the business of music and entertainment. He is currently employed as A&R Manager: Africa for Sony ATV Music Publishing South Africa. With over 10 years experience in the music and entertainment space in the sourcing, licensing, curation, creation, monetization and distribution of audio and visual content Munya has decided to launch his own online education music platform called Masters Of The Industry (M.O.T.I) Africa. He has extensive experience across the continent due to directly engaging with mobile and online platforms, independent record labels, artists and publishers.
Masters Of The Industry (M.O.T.I) Africa
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Intro : Yo! Welcome to the party! Hello! Makadini. Salibonani. My name is Vongai and you’re listening to ZimExcellence, a weekly celebration of Zimbabwe’s changemakers and trailblazers. So here’s the secret y’all Zimbabweans are actually DOPE AF and it’s just time that we recognize it. So grab yourself a plate of sadza, grab that Stoney ginger beer and let the party begin!
Vongai : Welcome to another episode of Zim excellence. Today, my guest has dedicated his professional life to the business of music and entertainment. He is currently employed as an A&R manager Africa for Sony ATV Music Publishing South Africa. With over 10 years experience in the music and entertainment space in the sourcing, licensing, curation, creation, monetization and distribution of audio and visual content. He has decided to launch his own online education music platform called Masters of the Industry (MOTI Africa), he has extensive experience across the continent, due to directly engaging with mobile and online platforms, independent record labels, artists and publishers. Please welcome Munya Chanetsa.
Munya : Thank you Vongai for having me.
Vongai: I'm so glad you're here. Like I literally love your energy. And I, I anticipate that we're all gonna learn a lot today. And I'm so looking forward to this conversation
Munya: If that happens then mission accomplished, it'll be a good session
Vongai: Before we get into all the amazing things that you've been up to, I always like to talk origin story. So you are ZimExcellence superhero. I’m a nerd. You are a ZimExcellence superhero and every superhero has their origin story. So I'd love if you could share a bit about your origin story to help us understand how you got from point A to point B, because you currently live in South Africa. But you were born in Zimbabwe.
Munya : Correct. Yes, yes. And yes. So I said So you mean my origin? Not just my career origin story just isn't my life origin story?
Vongai : Yeah, like that moment when you picked up that that? A Tribe Called Quest tape. And you were like, this is it when you're like, five? I don't know. I'm making it up origin stories but you take it away.
Munya : Okay, cool. So yeah, so born in Zimbabwe, my parents, Mr. And Mrs. Chanetsa. So at the time, my father was a, he was a deputy ambassador for Zimbabwe. So at the time the family was in England, UK, but my mother had flown down to have me in Zim, you know, keeping it real. So I think shortly after being born, we joined. And so that's where I spent, I guess, the early years of my life in UK,
Vongai : Same, same
Munya : So that's, that's pretty much it. I mean, as a child, I know my mother described me as someone who was very quiet and chilled. She said, one of the things you didn't notice about me is that I would like all I needed was TV. And I was okay. Like, I was one of those children where you put me in front of the TV and then I’d just be quiet and Sesame Street funnily enough, was one of my favorite shows. And this is all true story, by the way. So yeah, she's told me that Yeah, like, Sesame Street just did it for me. And I remember actually, what I do recall is that like, a lot of I learned a lot. I remember learning a lot through music through Sesame Street. That makes sense. Like a lot of these songs like I even till today, they’re like programmed in my head.
Vongai : That makes a lot of sense. Because actually, like, aside from my mom, like, Sesame Street, taught me how to read. Like, I'm sure I would, I would say this to people, and they'd be like, No, that's not true. You learned to read at school. I'm like, No, my mom was there. And there was Sesame Street. Yeah,
Munya : Trust and believe it was Sesame Street. So yeah, I think yeah, I think I've always had an appreciation for music. Music helped me learn a lot of things are there. So actually, there's a couple of years, I remember even learning multiplication. My parents bought this funny. There was this rap music tape cassette tape. And that's how I remember learning multiplication, pretty easy.
Vongai : I love that I like I made up the origin story about a cassette tape, and there was a cassette tape. How do I know? Intuition!
Munya : So, I mean, I've always been a lover of music. I remember, even now, I mean, so we also did fly up and down quite a bit. So from Zim, I think, I mean, from UK, I think we spent maybe a year in Russia randomly and then we went to Zimbabwe for one year, and then we found ourselves back in the UK for another like five years or so. So I only came back to Zim properly when I was around, I must be like 12, that was in 1995. Yeah, or maybe 11. I was 11 I think. So that's when we returned back to them. So that's what now? Zim. Yeah, that's what I spent my high school I went to St. John's College. And I mean, again, yeah, Music has always been a part. I remember being part of plays. There was one, which is a huge bomb when we tried to do a cover of I think it was Casey and Jojo. That was 1000 that didn't go well, we were trying to sing All My Life. But I mean, in others. I remember in choir. I remember having a lead role as in the Christmas play as a donkey and having to sing. And so I've been I've always enjoyed entertainment and music. When HIFA was going down. I think at an early time I used to volunteer to be part of it. And I remember at some point, and so fortunately, I had friends and I got hooked up. And it's like I would then eventually. At one point I remember being stage manager at one point, you know, and I was I just I just I've always enjoyed creativity, you know. So you yeah, that's pretty much how I guess in terms of not career wise things started. But I've always known I've loved music always wanted to be around music. I was the king of karaoke when I was at university in Australia.
Vongai : Yasss
Munya : Let them know. They must know I used to destroy in karaoke.
Vongai : Let them know
Munya : It was ridiculous but it was a good time.
Vongai : You and I should be on the same karaoke team. Undefeated we’ll be undefeated.
Munya : Oh, they don't know what will happen. [laughter]
Vongai : Oh that is just so so dope.
Munya : Yeah. So that's just in terms of my origin story, I guess and how music has played a role throughout.
Vongai: What does being Zimbabwean mean to you? How would How would you define that personally?
Munya : Zim is Zim is home, you know, and, you know, being Zimbabwean, you know, I've always in terms of our people and being Zimbabwean. And you know, I've always felt that our people have the width, we actually just a genuinely beautiful people. And I mean, I mean, with the exception to all the I mean, all the other chaos that does happen, but I think genuinely as Zimbabweans we are such a beautiful, genuine loving, helping type people, you know, so that's, that's what I just associated with Zimbabwe. That's, I guess, why I try and be the kind of person that I am in terms of, yeah, how I conduct myself proudly Zimbabwean, even though the truth of the matter is I am also I'm half South African. My mom is South African. So I mean, I am in both sides. But I mean, I guess because I really did grew up in Zim, and I only came South Africa when I was I mean, I was an adult already and stuff but yeah, being Zimbabwean is just yeah, being just being just good. Being great, y’know.
Vongai: I can't remember if I mentioned this to you, but I was bornin Harare and then moved to London when I was a baby, and then moved back to Zimbabwe when I was around eight, and then moved to Beijing around 13 spent all of my teens in Beijing. But mind you, I'm still a teenager, and then went to-
Munya : Look atchu. [laughter]
Vongai : Look at me. And then went back to London, Brunel University and studied film and television studies, then moved back to Zimbabwe, six months and then moved to New York. So like, I feel you we are both third culture kids. We in the same tribe.
Munya: Same whatsapp group together. So yeah, you get it, you get it.
Vongai : So Mr. Mr. A&R?
Munya : Yeah yeah.
Vongai : So for those of the listeners that didn't obsessively watch Empire, can you tell us what an A&R manager does?
Munya : [laughs] That’s funny.
Vongai : That's how I learnt about A&R because it was in Empire.
Munya : Which makes sense. I think I did see it. Yeah. But I did see that episode. That's very funny. So A&R stands for Artistes and Repertoire. And so basically, so and there's different contexts to A&R in depending on where you are at in the industry. So there's A&R for music record labels. And their job is to number one, find, like new artists, new performing artists, they're looking for people who are going to be as I said, performing artists in front of the mic, singing songs, performing songs, and that's their job, you know, whereas now on the publishing side where I am. A&R it means the same thing, the only difference is that I'm not looking for performing artists I need to look for or I'm looking for songwriters and producers. I'm trying to find who are the hottest songwriters and producers on the continent. And, and technically, well do three things for them. Make sure they work to protected, make sure they get the royalties. And the third thing is which is my job, which is then to get the more work like to, to use your skill as a songwriter or as a producer to create music for other artists, or, and it's not necessarily always commercial songs. And when I say commercial songs, I mean songs you hear on radio and stuff. It could be just background music, it could be what we call what they call bed music. So like just to make sure that they're so as a producer, so you don't have commercials, but maybe you can do a soundtrack and have music in the background, whether it's for an ad or film or TV. So that's what an A&R does on my side. So yeah, it's really just, and also in the same breath it’s also looking at how do we work the current repertoire that we have at Sony Music Publishing. So just to see like, how else can we just yeah, fully maximize and exploit the works actually, to this to the maximum and generate as much money as possible for the creative?
Vongai : That's dope? Do you ever get like unsolicited messages, emails, letters, DMs being like, yo, Munya put me on?
Munya : Ah do I?
Vongai : I mean I bet you do.
Munya : Yeah, no, I do. I remember after the announcement like.
Vongai : About Sony?
Munya : Yeah about Sony.
Vongai: You made it! Bring me with you.
Munya : I remember just my phone, I would say that my phone is still slow. And I didn't understand what was happening. And it just made sense that what happened was then people just. I was getting like full on albums, or just being sent to my phone and songs. And so my phone ended up being full. And I didn't and then that's why now I switched off automatic downloads, because people still do just send music and it fills up my phone. And then now my phone is slow and not working properly. So that was the first lesson I learned. But yeah
Vongai : And that’s that's frightening, right? Because like, let's say you, you accidentally get that album, but maybe you didn't listen to it. And then along the line, because you know, ideas aren't like, ideas don't belong to people, they just kind of, I got this from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, they kind of float in the air. And then if you don't act on them, then someone else does. And that's why sometimes you have a different version of like the same movie that was made at the same time. And you're like, Wait, how, how is this possible.
Munya : But they’re not even connected.
Vongai: Yeah, yeah. And so like you'd hate for them. Let's say you have the albums that were sent to you, that you didn't listen to. And then another artist from Sony comes out with this. And somehow you're you're linked to it and they're like, Munya stole my my tracks, but you never did.
Munya: Actually I've never thought of that. I'll be very honest. I've never thought or though I don't. I tend to Yeah, not to try. Yeah, actually, I've never thought of that. As someone who would try a stunt like that.
Vongai : I know, it's a big thing in film and TV, where you'll then like people will send unsolicited showbibles. And like there have been issues where like, for real people's shows were stolen, because like maybe they were told, oh, this isn't the right show for us. And then they go on to make a show that's basically similar to the show that was mentioned. But there have also been scenarios where like, coincidentally, it was like this just similar. But like, they never looked at it. And so I'll hear that like producers and and different agents and execs, as soon as they get those emails, they have to do delete them. And even Luvvie Ajayi the other day was talking about people will send her manuscripts for their book as if she's a publisher. And then she's like, she had to make a post on Instagram and be like, please do not do this. Because some people pull some things and I want you to stay protected. Yeah, like go right through the correct channels.
Munya: Go through the correct channels. Correct. But yeah, that's what I, I definitely don't accept anything anymore on my phone. I actually don't even accept downloaded music. A lot of people just like, you know how people send music, just they just just like, Hey, this is my favorite song, and they'll send the song. I don't even download that now. Like I try. And that's why I always say that, you know, I think the reason why that why I've been growing in the industry is because I genuinely love music, and I respect music. And so I'm happy to pay for music. Now. I know at one point in my life, I did used to do that. But I've long stopped that and for years, I'm happy just to pay another half pay R60 for the Spotify, pay all these things. And I do it across the board even with regards to movies now as well, because I'm just like, you know what, if it one day, I'm just going to expect people to want to pay for anything that I put out in this industry, then I can't be doing this. This is this is hypocrisy.
Vongai : Yeah, it's a lot of work that goes into this, like content creation and this like creation of art. It's just so heartbreaking. But like, yeah, like you said full disclosure, we all had those limewire days, early 2000s. Before we understood the implications of those What we were doing? Yes, we have repented.
Munya : Yes, amen. Amen and amen.
Vongai : Okay, so let's dive right in to MOTI. So MOTI, I believe what you're doing is absolutely inspiring, yet necessary. What's really interesting is so a while ago, I watched a Facebook Live video from this acting coach, where she was talking about like the frustration of working with actors because even if actors have graduated from let's say, an elite or an upper echelon acting Conservatory, or actors who never studied at all, there's still a lack from these programs, because they don't have enough business classes to educate actors and artists on ways to sustain their careers and also to prevent them from being scammed or getting the short end of the stick. And so with all of that said, I would love for you to introduce and define for our listeners, what the purpose and ethos of MOTI Africa is. Take it away, Mr. lecturer.
Munya : This is my baby. So yeah, MOTI stands for Masters Of The Industry.
Vongai: Love it.
Munya: #MOTI. As you shared I think it's just something which is a systemic within the entertainment industry as a whole where, for some reason, there seems to be just information gaps, you know. Where, for some reason we are unable to where this is the I always say like the academics, let me say, the business side, people on the business side, for some reason, we aren't able to articulate things properly to the creative side and that creates this divide, and, and then I guess that's when now just mistakes continually happen, you know, on and on. And it's sad. And I guess, MOTI, if I'm being very honest with you, it was born out of frustration more than anything, because I think it's I just I think I realized at some point, I was like, you know, the problem is. Well, actually, a couple of things happened to make me get to the point where I am now. But I mean, at one point, I remember just thinking when I went to when I joined a company called CAPASSO, which is the Composers, Authors and Songwriters Association. I realized that there’s this whole area of the industry, I really don't know much about. And I was just like, and this is me, like 10 years in the game already. And I just realized that this whole area around copyright, and I really have no clue what this all means. And that's when I was like so for me, if I've been in the industry for 10 years, and I feel. I was quite at that point I used to like even puff my chest and think I knew tings. I realized that I had no idea then I thought so if me Munyaradzi Chanetsa who has been in the industry 10 years, has no idea about this area. Then what chance does someone who wants to just enter the industry have in this game? So I mean, I think so that's what started, just things started just coming together. And I think it also been, I started realizing how, because of the lack of understanding and things being done properly, it just affects the industry as a whole. Because, you know, I was even saying, you know, in certain countries, the entertainment and music industry also contributes to the GDP of countries. Yeah, you know, that's it's an industry. However, we're struggling to really put that together, we can't value the industry because certain things aren't being done properly. So there's so many just things which we need to figure out and put in place so that we can really like work within the industry. And then of all people who within the industry are then how do you say, we all make more money? And then if there's more money to go around, and there's actually a lot of money to go around within this industry, however, like I always just think about the fact that metadata, which is the song information that isn't being done correctly till today. So now what happens is, if the metadata is not correct, and metadata, as I said, is some information then now when there’s royalties to be collected what happens then? Because now where does things go? No one really understands now, as as and I think, in Africa, there's also. I mean, the songwriters and the producers are really the forgotten creators. And I mean, and yet they are the core of what music is. Without songwriters and producers, I don't see what music making, but they really are the forgotten creators. There's so many things that I think as songwriters and producers, they don't know though, the revenue opportunities, or the revenue streams that are actually available to them for just doing what they're already doing. However, just because they don't know, then they're unable to act and do this correct things they they don't know what the reason why they need to reach to the CMO, they don't know what a publisher’s purpose is because I mean, as, as I said, I work for Sony Music Publishing, which is very different from Sony Music Entertainment, which is the record label side. But I mean, people still hit me up and they're like, yo, as a performing artist, yo Munya hook me up? I need to get a record deal.
Vongai : Put me on !
Munya : Put me on, I need a record deal. Can you do AB-? And I'm always like, Guys, this is not what a publishing entity does. So I can't I can't help you with that. Well, I can I can put you in touch with the A&R team that side, but that's as much as I can do. It's a different company. I have no influence there. And yeah, as much as I could use this, do a through ball. If it works for you. I'm happy. If not, it is what it is. But yeah, so. So I think so now going back. So I just wanted to give more context as to why how this started. So Masters of The Industry. I've always seen myself as, as a just a man of the industry. So that's where it started initially as Man of The Industry (MOTI). And I used to be, I was just a guy where, at any level, if you needed assistance, I'm happy to give you time and try advise you so you do the right things. So I used to call myself MOTI, man of the industry and that's how it started. But I guess as time that's when I did, I saw how serious this actually was. And I knew it was just bigger than just being man. So that's when I was like, you know, we need to educate. And just as there are masters within education, I was like, we should have people who aspire to be masters of this industry, people who understand it to the point where they like, Yes, I'm a doctor and whatever.
Vongai : [laughs] I have a doctorate in hip hop. Yes.
Munya : Tell them yes! [laughs] So what I've done is. So I decided to create an online educational platform focusing on music right now it's www.motiafrica.com. And, basically, it's, it's in video format, because I know I always say that I know creators don't like to, to read, that's often a problem. So as it’s in video format, and I think. Not I think, I believe that, you know, because of my experience. I don't think I'm the smartest person in the room. I've never thought I'm the smartest person in the room. Being funny is kind of my thing. I've always been the funny guy.
Vongai : Oh same! See that’s why we’re trying.
Munya : That's why
Vongai: I feel like we're the people who we connect. We're connectors. So we know how to find the right people?
Munya: Yeah perfect. Yeah, exactly. We are. We are connectors. Absolutely. I remember connectors. I remember reading. Is that outliers? Yes, outliers.
Vongai: I still haven’t read that, my dad has read all the Malcolm Gladwells.
Munya : Oh, yeah. he's a beast. He's one of my favorite writers. Oh yeah I think, he does talk about connectors. I think it is in Outliers. However you say it but anyway, so yeah, I've never claimed to be the smartest person. So but, you know, I’ve realized also, I think that the narrative that's been given by the industry is that this stuff is really complicated and hard to understand. And I'm just like, if me, just average joe Munya, can understand this, then honestly, we all can because as I said, I'm not. I'm not the smart person like that. I just assumed, but it just makes sense to me just because I listened. And I just like, I just connected the dots. So So basically, so with MOTI, MOTI Africa, it’s going to be a platform that number one is to give narrative to the industry. Because I think one of the issues is that there's there's different things. So locally, in South Africa, they are collection management organizations. And most of the time, most people just go and sign up with one of them, which is SAMPRA because that's the one most people hear about. And they don't realize that there's four other CMOs and well, of the five, actually, you only need to sign with four. But the reason why there’s five is because two of them do the same thing. But technically you need to depending on whether you're a songwriter, or producer, or if you're a performing artist, or if you're both, you need to sign with the CMOs and people. There's no narrative that says once you sign with SAMRO, you also need By the way, you also need to sign with CAPASSO and you need to sign WITH SAMPRA . And you need to sign with Risa or AIRCO. It's just, there's no narrative. And so MOTI, the idea is to not only provide a narrative like that, but also explain so that you understand the importance. So as I said, I'm doing it in video format. So there's gonna be videos, just explaining just simple things. The idea is then for to just keep putting out this type of content. And so I'm the way I'm doing it as I'm looking at having what we call a free model, which is going to be just information you should know as in it's not something which you actually shouldn't even be paying for. It's like this is the information is actually all out there ready. But you just don't know any better at this moment in time. Therefore, let me I'll give you the narrative so you know what you need to do. So there's going to be a freemium model, as well as Also, I'm also working on what we call, because I'm also trying to provide resource to people who come to the website. And I'm looking at creating what we call a digital splitsheet, as well as a digital metadata form, which also talk to one another. But I think one of the things, which is a problem is that we don't really recognize the importance of these two documents in our industry, and perhaps I think maybe, because it's still quite cumbersome, maybe because for a splitsheet, you have to print it out, and you have to go down. And so I thought maybe, let me let me create with my, with my team, let's create a digital version, which you can easily just do on your phone, or do on your laptop there and then in studio, and then you know, it's done. At least you've done that everyone has agreed as to you know what I mean? So there's that kind of thing. And the same with the metadata form, just to have all the information, and they're going to talk to each other because the splits that you put in the digital splitsheet, you're gonna have to put them inside the metadata form. So at least everything is just getting done there and then. And, you know, ultimately for for my, my ideal. My dream is that, you know, with regards to Moti. Moti is actually a movement because, as I said, For me, it bore out of frustration, and I'm just tired of seeing being in an industry, which I know has such great potential. And we're not seeing the potential of it, you know, and it's only because we just, we don't know any better. So ultimately, it's like I want, like, I also respect that the creatives are out there. And I'm like, cool, let the creatives keep doing what they're doing. However, we need just a new set of people actually do need to stand up and say, Listen, I want to be in the music industry. However, I don't want to be on the creative side, I would rather be on the business side. So what are the opportunities on this side of the business? What are the things that you can do? How can you earn money? You know, I mean, like, just, I ultimately want to groom and have a new breed of people who are just doing that and then we are dedicating to protect the creatives to do right by the creatives to negotiate the correct kind of deals and not letting like and maybe we should be the ones responsible for making sure. Yes let the creators have fun in the studio, they create their stuff. They're super excited. And you're the one who has to kind of set the tone thing, say guys before we all leave. Can we just sort out the splits real quick? Do we agree that we like we just need someone in that room now? And that's who I hope to be, MOTI. I want them to be the MOTI. So MOTI is about owning it as well. So that's the whole vibe and in a nutshell. Actually I went pretty detailed.
Vongai: Well, I love that so much you're creating a pathway forward for for those, you know, music and entertainment lovers who want to be part of the industry but not necessarily want to be in the creation phase. Like the the creative who's like in the booth doing the stuff and all of that. The people who want to be of support and like on the team, basically, I think is awesome. I went to the MOTI website, and I checked out the video. And I also checked out the other videos on the YouTube and y'all. They are crisp! I thought I was watching a trailer for master class. I was like yo this is beautiful.
Munya : The standard of quality. People must recognize. We can do the things if we need to.
Vongai: This is ZimExcellent. You don't have to halfass it. And I was just like, wow, I'm not even in the music industry but let me get my notepad and learn!
Munya : C’mon!
Vongai : Because Professor Munya did not come to play.
Munya: No, no, no, no, no, here, we're not here to play at all.
Vongai: I love that so much. So aside from heading to the website, and people can put in their email so that they can get news about the launch, which is gonna be August, right?
Munya: So it was scheduled to be August. But now, something recently came up because you know, one of the things with MOTI for me is accessibility is very important. Because I want everyone to be able to have access to this. And I mean, you know, so there is as I said, there's the freemium part, which will be information, which is out there. However, there will be more premium content which I would want people to subscribe to and actually pay for and the premium content is going to be so it's going to be all of it's going to be MOTI masterclasses. So it's going to be full on MOTI master classes, which are one on one engagement with industry experts now aware, as much as I understand the importance of branding and I can kind of guide you through it. However, I'd rather you speak with an industry experts who's actually done it for creative. And, and let's gauge with them and make that kind of happen. So there's going to be what we call MOTI master classes. There's a few more other just MOTI lessons, which I'll also be putting out, which also, as I said, we'll have a resource so that people can. So you can actually answer the questions for yourself and you build your own little plan as you're going along becoming a MOTI. So yes, it's accessibility I was saying. And I've recently engaged one of the mobile network operators because I want to see how people how we can do it in such a way so that people can pay using airtime. And then also make it a lot make it a lot whatchucallit, just cheaper. And make it cheaper, instead of it being trying to do this, like Spotify or Apple, where it's like R60/month. Like I want to explore saying, like, yeah, let's explore if we can do it this, like rather 5 for R5, it gives you access to two hours and you can just access as much as you know. So I'm currently in the so because of these negotiations just started. I may have to push back the start date again. But yeah, we'll see.
Vongai: It’s all for a good reason.
Munya: It's all for good reason. I'm just trying to help y'all out here. So if you can be patient, just Yeah, but yeah, this is all for good reason.
Vongai : Yeah, this episode will be coming out in August. And so that's why I asked if it was like coming out at the same time. It’s okay, by the time this episode is out, people will be. They'll be able to prepare, they'll be able to go to the website, put in the email address, tell their friends, spread the word, do all of the amazing things.
Munya: Amen and amen to that.
Vongai : So this is slightly unrelated. But a couple months ago, I was having a conversation with someone. And I said to myself, because I'm not gonna bring up the title of the film, but the description will kind of give away what I'm talking about. But there was a documentary about Zimbabwe, that went to Sundance that has been doing really well. And the people behind it are European. And I've been feeling some type of way about that. And so I had this conversation with someone I was like, Why? Why is it these things keep happening, like cool. On the one side, you know, stories are being told, but it's like, why can't the people who the stories are about tell these stories.
Munya: Tell their own stories.
Vongai : Yeah ! and then like, I got this hit, and I'm like, yo, how has no one done a documentary about. Like a documentary or a biopic about the life of Oliver Mtukudzi.
Munya : Truth!
Vongai : I feel like that would be so powerful, and it would do so well around the world, and would help us you know, get that recognition on those global stages that we want.
Vongai : And the guy brought up to me, yes, awesome. There had been ideas floating around about that. But the issue is once he died, there was this whole thing about his estate and who do the rights belong to and do they belong to the wife or to the child and to the this and all of that. All of this stuff. And I was like I literally had no clue because living in America can be such a bubble for me. So I literally don't know anything else happening outside of arts guilty but he had said at the time there was like this huge blow up in the local newspapers about it. And then I asked my mom about it and then she was explaining the situation to me and I'm like, that is absolutely awful because just because certain things weren't set out in a will properly the world might never see you know, the life of this man or a documentary because then you know, we're dealing with you know, who owns the rights who where does the music belong and all of that. And so I love that with MOTI we will be able to prevent situations like that happening. And I also want to I went through again, I went through a deep dive of your Instagram I'm not a stalker, I'm a detective! I do my work.
Munya : Hmm there’s a difference.
Vongai : Yes there’s a difference. And I was yesterday's years old when I discovered an artist by the name of Linda Solomon (Solomon Linda) who I'd never heard of. And this I do like the story of the song. Is it Mbube? (Boo-Be) Is that how you say it?
Munya : Yeah that’s correct.
Vongai : Yeah, and how that links to and and sorry to all the fellow Disney babies we're about to kill some childhoods, but like how it links to what we now as The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Do you want to chit-chat about that? Cuz I had no clue. I was like, really doing the deep dive and I freaked out.
Munya : Oh yeah. It's sad. It actually is very, it's a very sad story. And it's heartbreaking. I was, I think I only learned about this in 2019. So we even like, even for me the fact that that's how I was actually, I was so surprised when I heard about it. But anyway, let's, let's get into so there was a gentleman by the name of Linda Solomon. And he was the original songwriter of a song we know as Mbube. And Mbube. And I think it was the evening, I always forget the Midnight Stars. He had, like his choir troupe or the midnight stars or - anyway
Vongai : Yeah, that's okay. I'm gonna link to that, that BBC article that mentions you in the show notes and other articles.
Munya : Oh, beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful. Yeah. So. So basically, they created this song, which then well, at the time, and we're talking in 1938. In 1938, then I guess shortly after, somehow Mbube made its way to America. And I can't remember who the actual American artists and the groups were. However, that's when, because the and basically the song was taken. And so there's a bit of controversy with regards to how did Solomon Linda, sign away a song when he was illiterate? And I mean, and this is all Oh, by the way, this is all available on Netflix, there's a show called The Lion Share. And, for me, I found it heartbreaking. But it is this show that that just really explained this entire thing in quite detail and features his family, his daughters are in it. But anyway, but I'll just explain quickly, so. So unfortunately, what happened is and this song goes to American it didn't, it becomes it gets it starts transform people are sampling it, it transforms from Mbube to A-wim-bo-wey, because I guess they didn't understand what Mbube meant, or what it was. To them it was just a noise. So they just continued a-wim-bo-wey. And that's how, again, a-wim-bo-wey began and then yeah, and then it turns into the song, which, which is the lion sleeps tonight, and I mean, and that song has done globally has done tremendously. Thanks to properties such as The Lion King, you know, and I think I think Well, last I heard that song has generated like over $60 million. But now.
Vongai : I mean it’s Disney.
Munya: It’s Disney money yo!
Vongai : It’s a major cooperation.
Munya : 100%. So the sad thing now is that, throughout this and the way copyright works, is music is really. That's why I say music is an asset. So we need to look at it differently. When I say this copyrights. Copyrights is an asset within music that you can own. And just like any assets, if you pass on, you can pass that asset on to your children and your children's children. So that obviously depends on the life, wherever you stay. It depends on the life of copyright. But it's like you can pass it on as an asset, where your children can then benefit off it and the like, however, because things were done, not done correctly with Solomon Linda. It left his family - number one, he passed away, I believe in 1967 or 68 I think due to some kidney issues and the like, and he passed away, and I think they also said he had like R107 in his pocket. And I mean, that's how he ended. And I mean, also his family were left in poverty still, you know, and, and yet this song as I have shared has made. Yeah, and I mean, and what should have been passed on to his children. And as you mentioned earlier to the estates, or whoever the trust is. what ended up happening is that they never were compensated. And so basically, the family at some point, I think they got clued up, and they someone clued them up, and they understood what was happening and how they wouldn't be compensated, and basically, how they were being robbed, how they had been robbed. And so at the time in the as in as you, as you'll see, in the documentary, they got some lawyers, which I personally also feel, you know, at some time in the documentary, they seem like the Knights in shining armor. But then as the money's just. What they did, I believe what they did was very clever. Because I think people tend to reach out to Disney however, Disney was just swatting them away kind of vibe, there was no, they're not even listening until What does this these lawyers did they, they froze Disney's assets in South Africa. So now Disney couldn't utilize their own assets of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, they managed to freeze all these assets and that's how Disney’s attention. That's when now Disney came to the table. However, now what happened to my understanding is that an NDA has had to be signed non-disclosure agreements are saying basically, that whatever happens here cannot be shared. And there was an instruction that a trust had to be developed. So I think these group of people, the lawyers they somehow they selected whoever they chose to be in the trust and the family were now excluded from this, like for my understanding that the family would no one in the family was a part of the trust. None of the family knew who had access to some of the information. So they don't even know how much money Disney sent, for example, that was never shared with them. And I mean, if you watch the documentary, they talk about how it seems like, these guys are giving them an allowance now, it's like, the family is like, it was just weird. And yeah, the knights in shining armor they weren't as chivalrous as we thought. But anyway, it's a sad story.