Artistes Set to Earn Big as Uhuru Finally Fulfills Sh2Billion Pledge

By Omondi Otieno

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Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta during the State of the Nation Address, promised artistes that his government will look into the issue of royalty payments, with an aim of ensuring it is streamlined, and better serves musicians and other people in the arts creative industry.

The news was well received among artistes, especially since most of them had received meagre pay from the Music Copyright Society of Kenya the previous year.

Several months passed by with little development regarding the same. However, in January 2020, the President directed the Ministry of ICT and the Kenya Copyright Board to come up with a better system for revenue collection and distribution.

Following the directive, the two bodies developed a system known as RYZIKIMUSIC that stores details of artistes, their music, and facilitates payment.

In a series of tweets last week, the Kenya Copyright Board urged artistes to register on the new system to ensure they get the right payment and on time.

“Following the Presidential directive of January 14 for @MoICTKenya and @KenyaCopyright to come up with a database to help manage royalties better, RYZIKIMUSIC was developed. We are requesting all artists to update their info on the system. An SMS was sent to members of CMOs.

“By updating your info on the system by coming Sunday, you will be guaranteeing yourself constant and timely payment of your accurate royalties from CMOs. Government will ensure artists get atleast 70 percent of royalties collected,” the board tweeted.

From the tweets, artistes were supposed to provide their details by Sunday April 5 2020, just a day before the President made a declaration on the issue of royalties.

Addressing the nation on Monday, April 6 2020, President Kenyatta noted that his government through the two agencies mentioned above, had developed a framework for fair royalty payments to artists.

He further noted that his government has projected that artistes will be earning a total of Sh200 million every month, and a cumulative total of Sh2Billion in a year, adding that the payments will commence this week.

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“I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, in collaboration with Kenya Copyright Board, Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) have established a framework to ensure full transparency for artist’s earnings.  My Administration has projected that a total of Ksh. 200m every month will be paid to musicians through the system and other platforms.  This translates to over Ksh. 2 billion going into the pockets of Kenyan artists. These payments will begin this week in line with the pledge I made in January,” he said.

The announcement means that as an artiste, if you want to receive royalty for your music, you should register on the system provided by the copyright board, and be part of those set to benefit from the Sh2 billion set to be paid this year.

In addition to the above, the President also noted that since artistes have been hugely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, his administration will provide them with sh100 million to cushion them from the same.

“ I further direct the Ministry of Sports, Culture, and  Heritage to avail an additional support of Ksh. 100 M from the Sports Fund to our artists, actors and musicians, during the period of the covid-19 pandemic so they may continue to entertain their fellow brothers and sisters through TV, radio and the internet ,” he directed.

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