Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) CEO Dr Ezekiel Mutua has vowed to improve the lives of musicians during his tenure, saying it hurts to see artistes languishing in poverty.
Through a post on social media, Mutua added that piracy and mismanagement of royalties are partly to blame for the troubles facing musicians.
“It hurts to see talented musicians languishing in poverty because of piracy or because their royalties were mismanaged or because they were not given financial literacy, skills and the support to invest their monies well.
“It hurts to see people who bring so much joy to our hurts, who inspire us with their creativity and give hope to society, suffer the plight of paupers and have to hold harambees when they fall sick,” he wrote.
Adding: “It hurts when one sees musicians used as an appendage at key events. They are only called to perform when needed then they are sent backstage.
“I have a dream that one day, musicians will sit at the front table because they will be rich, respected and influential and their works will shape the narrative for a better Kenya.”
In every political season, musicians are normally used to appeal to younger voters and this year is no different as a number of them have made appearances at political rallies.
Trio Mio and Exray, the brains behind Sipangwingwi, have often been seen at rallies and their slogan has been used by politicians to rally the masses.
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Although they are perceived to live lavishly, some musicians struggle to make ends meet and a year ago they sought audience with Deputy President William Ruto to chart the way forward.
At the time, Ruto mentioned that they discussed the possibility of coming up with a policy that will help weed out bureaucracy, brokers and impediments that slow the growth of the creative industry.
In 2020, several artistes took to social media to express displeasure with MCSK over royalties, some claiming they received Sh2,530.
Khaligraph threatened to storm MCSK offices for sending him peanuts.
“MCSK siku moja tutakuja kuwavuruga uko mbaya sana, msijaribu kunitumia izi peanuts tena, in fact I have given authorization for my music to be pirated. Don’t collect money on my behalf anymore. Nisiskie mmeshika mtu akicheza wimbo zangu kwa street, msinitumie izo peanuts zenu tena, The OG shall be respected,” he posted.
Khaligraph’s outcry prompted other artistes to come out and also express their annoyance with MCSK.
It remains to be seen how Mutua will fix the issues around royalties.