For sometime, Kenyan musicians have been smiling to the bank due to sales of music albums or singles, performance fees, and mainly royalties. As an ardent advocate for letting musicians live and eat, I’m really happy for such change.
Gone are the days that most musicians would walk home or get stranded in town hustling for fare. The Kenyan Copyright Board might be trying to make sure that works of art are compensated but amid this new dawn it seems that all is not well in royalty collection.
I must recommend Music Copyright Society of Kenya for steadfastness in making sure that things work out. Under the management of my good friend lawyer Maurice Okoth, they have covered much ground. This is good for music business.
However, the amiable Okoth should address his collecting officers in Nyanza region. The last two weeks, his licensing agents have been using underhand tactics to frustrate licensed Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) and Performance Rights Society of Kenya (PRSK) from collecting licence fees.
The last time I checked I realised that Kamp under June Gachui and PRSK under lawyer songstress Angela Ndambuki aka Rabbo were authorised to collect royalties on behalf of producers and performance fees. But MCSK seems to get jittery with this arrangement. Yet there is big pie for all.
They are now huffing and puffing all over creating unnecessary scenes, which are detrimental to musicians and producers wellbeing. MCSK is failing to realise that Kenya Copyright Board gazetted Kamp and PRSK in accordance with section 46 (6) of Copyright Act 2001 to collect royalties and function to the satisfaction of its members.
The board also notified the public that PRSK and KAMP had enlisted the services of Cellnet Limited, Flame Entertainment, and Oxygen Media to collect royalties on their behalf in Coast, Western/Nyanza, and Central regions respectively. But MCSK’s Nyanza regional manager James Oenga is contradicting the law.
In a letter to licensees in Nyanza he wrote that only MCSK are allowed to collect. He fails miserably in his innuendos to realise that not all musicians are members of MCSK while others are members of both collecting bodies. A case in point being award-winning musician Nameless who sits on PRSK board and is also a member of MCSK.
My take is that, Okoth should rein in his officers who contradict the law. As a gentleman, he should let the rest of organisations exercise their mandate.