Governors to promote ringtones for counties to help artistes

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru. June 23, 2021. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

You might soon be able to download a ringtone that identifies with your county in a project supported by the Council of Governors in partnership with musicians.

This is if a proposal to enact legislation by the Council of Governors to compel counties to introduce county ring tones will be approved by the county assemblies to become law in a deliberate strategy to boost the musicians’ earnings.

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru, the CoG’s chair for Culture and Social Services, said the legislation will be formulated with the assistance of the national government to go beyond the construction of studios by the counties.

“The legislation will see to it that all counties have tunes that will boost the musicians’ earnings. We need to propel them from where the president has reached after he exempted ringtones from exercise duty,” said Waiguru.

According to the governor, every county’s responsibility is to support talent given that all the counties have a budget and a Department for Culture and Social Services.

She promised to do a follow-up to fast-track the legislation and its implementation.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

From every one shilling obtained from a Skiza tune, the State was previously taking 25 cents while the mobile service provider took away 43 cents, leaving musicians to share by half the remaining 32 per cent with content service providers.

With the government ceding the 25 cents, musicians earnings are up to 41 cents for every shilling made.

The music lobby group chief coordinator and gospel artist James Kamau alias Sir James said artistes will follow up with the governor to ensure their input is factored in the proposed legislation.

“We welcome any effort that will boost our livelihoods since we play an important role in our society but we live a deplorable life,” Kamau said.

The announcement by Waiguru comes barely a week after musicians conducted a thanksgiving ceremony at the rural home in Gatanga of Royal Media Services chair SK Macharia to welcome the State’s move exempt the ringtones in the Excise Duty Act that took effect this month through the Finance Act 2021.

The changes seek to increase the amounts that Safaricom, Airtel, and Telcom Kenya pay artistes for using the songs as ringtones and reduce the amounts that callers pay for use of the tunes.

Last year, Kenya introduced a centralised system for the collection of royalties that targets to net up to Sh1 billion from Sh200 million.