Kenya Copyright Board distributes Sh80m royalties as artists lament

Secular artiste Khaligraph Jones performs during East Africa's Got Talent premiere at Coca-Cola Plaza Auditorium on August 4, 2019, in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo/Standard]

Kenyan artists have hit at the copyright board over the meagre payout of royalties received.

The artists among them King Kaka, Khalihraph Jones, Timmy T dat and Vivianne took to social media to criticise the Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) for payment of peanuts against their hard work.

In his Instagram handle, King Kaka showed a screenshot where he received Sh2,500 from MCSK with an additional Sh30 as withdrawn Mpesa charges.

"Kwanza kabisa I thought it was just Khaligraph Jones anazusha then I got my fair share. Watu kama Sauti Sol watatumia hii doh aje (First I thought it was just Khalihraph Jones complaining until I got the rude shock. What will Sauti Sol do with this money)?" posed King Kaka alluding to the fact that Sauti Sol is a four-man band yet they got the same amount of cash.

Apparently, in its payout, MCSK paid every artist Sh2530, a flat rate despite how famous or the intensity of the airplay of their music which angered a majority.

Kecobo in a statement said the monies paid out are royalties between April and June.

This amounts to Sh118 million collected jointly by three Collective Management Organisation (CMO) licensed by Kecobo among them MCSK.

The other two are Perfomance Rights Society of Kenya (Prisk) and Kenya Association of Music Producers (Kamp).

Kecobo regulations demand that a CMO has to disburse at least 70 per cent of the royalties collected.

Of the Sh118 million, only Sh80 million which is 68 per cent was disbursed to the artists who are members of the CMOs.

"This represents a shortfall of two per cent from the 70 per cent level set by Kecobo Board of directors as precondition for licensing for three societies," said Kecobo Executive Director Edward Segei.

Segei said amounts collected in the first quarter of this year are being reconciled before disbursement as the three CMOs collected separately.

An angry Timmy T Dat, who also received the same amount of Sh2,530 vowed that no vendor should ever be arrested by MCSK officials for playing his music without a license.

He said there is no need for MCSK to insist on licenses yet the monies do not reach the intended artists.