SECTIONS

New technology that can help Kenyan artists earn more

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o and  First Lady Dorothy Nyong'o with models in Wakanda movie fashion gear during the Wakanda Forever Fan Screening at Century Cinemax in Westlands featuring Kenya's international actress Lupita Nyongo by Infinix. [DavidGichuru, Standard]

Every year, musicians and performing artistes protest against organisations that collect royalties due to the ridiculously low payments they receive. The average payment of Sh1,215 to artistes is laughable. This is despite the huge revenues collected from media houses, call-back-tone service providers and other licensed users of their copyrighted work.

The magnitude of the problem that has for years affected the creative industry was brought to the fore during this year’s annual World IP day in April. Speaking during the event, Partners Against Piracy interim Convener & MyMovies. Africa™ Co-Founder, Mike Strano said piracy in Kenya costs the industry over Sh92 billion per year. This is through pirated music, cinemas, television content, books, magazines and newspapers and gaming. He also revealed that the government loses over Sh17 billion in taxes annually.

But these are problems that Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) marketplaces can solve. Through NFTs, there is hope for artists and creatives to regain their autonomy and earn what they deserve from their creative works. NFT marketplaces provide a concrete route to supplement artiste’s income.

NFTs provide a legitimate built-in record of ownership that can travel beyond the first sale, which allows artistes to continuously generate royalties that provide a percentage of revenue to the original artist on subsequent sales of their work.

NFT’s, for example, create routes for musicians that give them control over their work for which they normally have to sign over ownership rights in deals they make with record labels. Photographers, painters, sculptors etc., can sell their authentic work directly to consumers without the need of a middleman.

In addition, digital artists face issues involving their work in an increasingly tech-driven world. Most of their work is re-published with no credits where royalties would be rightfully due. While digital art constitutes the biggest chunk of the NFT market, the nature of the technology provides limitless experimentation in what an NFT can represent. Creatives will have an opportunity to benefit from blockchain-based proof of ownership and authenticity.

Because blockchain, on which NFT’s run, is a publicly accessible and immutable digital ledger, it provides visibility of the entire transfer history of a specific NFT. We can see who created the NFT and who purchased it. We can also see the people who have owned it and for how long. Furthermore, we can see the value at which the transaction occurred, and this creates a transparent marketplace in terms of ownership and value.

The NFT marketplace has revitalised digital ownership which continues to grow exponentially. Government regulation continues to flounder at the expense of artists who are only nominally protected as recent developments in the last few years have shown. There is an opportunity for creatives to be proactive and take advantage of NFT’s.

The writer is the CEO and co-founder, Kasuku NFT