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Banking on airwaves

By - | January 18th 2013

By Pulse Team

As it turns out, the recent impressive payout of royalties to the leading artistes on the Kenyan airwaves was, as Pulse learnt, just a tip of the money-bag. Music airplay is becoming big money business with millions ending in artistes’ bank accounts

In Monday, top music celebrities were smiling all the way to the bank after the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) released millions in payment of royalties realised from artistes’ music play.

Nonini led the queue with Maji Maji’s owned Ivory Music, Charles Kanyi aka Jaguar, Angela Chibalonza and Kevin Wyre boosting their bank deposit with the bounty of six-digit cheques.

Others in the top ten list included Hellen Maloney aka Habida, Sound Africa (David Makali), Pamela Otieno, David Mathenge aka Nameless and Alex Apoko aka Ringtone. P Unit and Wahu were also highly rated. 

The quarterly distribution is for July to September 2012 and relates to collections from artistes’ performances in public places. The news created a major buzz in social media as scores of unregistered artistes dashed to the MCSK offices to register their art works.

Nonini’s Facebook page was a flurry of activity as both fellow celebrities and fans applauded him for the high score.

“We are extremely elated at the results because we have artistes earning six-figure royalties for a quarter period. This shows that by the end of the year, we could have artistes earning millions of shillings in royalties. The amounts earned in this quarter eclipse the highest earned in the whole of the last financial year,” Maurice Okoth, the MCSK CEO told Pulse during an exclusive interview.

 “We are asking all our members to open an account with Kenya Commercial Bank, which was appointed to make payments of all royalties for MCSK members,” Okoth added.

Amidst the celebrations, little did local musicians know that more good news was awaiting them as entertainment stakeholders unveiled a new plan that will ensure entertainers earn more millions from their music. Forget the days when artistes used to be a broke lot. With or without shows or album sales, good tidings are on the way for our celebrities.

On Tuesday, Pulse exclusively learned of a new partnership of the Homeboyz showbiz empire, young entertainment millionaire Sir Henry, Triple P Media Limited and Roma Agency Limited among others, which might revolutionaries the entire entertainment scene in the region.

Together with MCSK, the group has come up with a plan where artistes and entertainment spots will benefit from the usage of music, comedy and other forms of art through a designated radio and television frequency to be launched early next month.

According to our sources, the group will enter negotiations with holders of radio and television frequencies where such frequency will broadcast music to the users of the music who have opted for this option of free usage of music.

Basically, the system is akin to provision of ready packaged music to particular establishments and audience.

Pulse has reliably learned that Homeboyz Entertainment is already packaging local videos for use in the various entertaining programmes you will soon find running on screens in matatus, shopping malls, hotels and even your favourite barber shop in the hood.

Already, the pilot project run by Sir Henry is in operation in all Nakumatt chain of supermarkets under the name Nakumatt Radio. Scores of artistes have been contacted and applauded the move.

“Revenue share agreements will be entered between MCSK, the radio and television frequency holder, the content or music provision management, and the establishment and/or public service vehicles,” the MCSK CEO told Pulse.

“There will be different packages designed for given matatu routes in all the major towns. This will ensure that any work of art used will be accounted and paid for, and this will be a lot of money for artistes. The screens will also be advertising venues for advertisers who, in this case, will have their target audience already guaranteed. It is a win-win situation for all,” Okoth remarked.

And it is even more good news to premises and vehicles licensed by MCSK with a proposal to slash standing fees from partner stakeholders on the offing as soon as the organisation achieves optimal capacity from advertiser revenues.

According to a document held by Pulse on the said deal, Pulsers will also have a chance to vote for their favourite videos after which artistes will be paid for topping charts on a weekly base.

Pulse has learned that leading recording stables and top personalities in the entertainment fraternity are party of the negotiations whose report is expected to hit showbiz headlines in about two weeks. Bruce Adhiambo, Churchill, Nameless, Nonini, Frasha, Debbie Asila and Habida, are some of the celebrities shortlisted to join top radio and TV hosts in running the said frequencies.

Only local content will be played on the said frequencies, thus popularising local artistes among local entertainment fans. Our efforts to get comments from most of the artistes bore no fruits as they claimed that the negotiations were still underway.

“I am aware of the plan. But I can’t say much as I am not in an official position to comment,” P Unit’s Frasha told Pulse on Tuesday.

The frequencies will centre on music mixes, comedy, news highlights, short form documentaries, short films, entertainment news and sports highlights among others, Pulse has reliably learned.

“It is a brilliant move and I welcome it,” Nonini stated.

 “It is a good move. It is a way of giving back to fans as mostly Kenyan music will be played, and Kenyan artistes will earn more in terms of royalties,” the Genge godfather added.

The music industry has realised tremendous growth in the last four years and artistes are now making millions out of their hard labour. 

Pulse has learned that MCSK collected Sh261 million in the last financial year from its licensing activities up from Sh8 million raised from the same four years ago.

Even after the cash was ploughed back to artistes and other logistic issues, Sh100 million was recorded as surplus last year.

“With the new upcoming project, MCSK can only collect more and that translates to more revenue going to artistes,” Okoth remarked.

From digital to physical copies, new measures have already been put in place to ensure that artistes reap the best from their copyright work.

In fact, it is only a month since a task force was put in place to oversee the music-licensing framework in the country.

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