Artistes received only Sh380m of royalties in three years

The committee’s analysts have, however, disputed some of the information.

Sunday March 6 2016

A section of Kenyan artistes protest over royalties. The copyright society pays royalties to musicians. It collects 80 per cent of its money from public places such as matatus. FILE PHOTO | BONI MWALII | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A section of Kenyan artistes protest over royalties. The copyright society pays royalties to musicians. It collects 80 per cent of its money from public places such as matatus. FILE PHOTO | BONI MWALII | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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The organisations that collect royalties for musicians, actors and producers collected Sh1.1 billion over the last three years.

Documents they submitted to a parliamentary committee scrutinising their work shows that of this amount, only Sh380 million, 34 per cent, was paid out in royalties to the artistes over three years.

This information was handed over to the energy, information and communication committee and is the most comprehensive account to date of the money the organisations collect and pay out.

It also justifies the assertion by the artistes that they spend too much on administration, which reduces the royalties.

The figure does not include the money collected from Safaricom, which runs Skiza Tunes where music is provided as a ring back tune. 

The committee’s analysts have, however, disputed some of the information.

“Financial information presented by the Performers Rights Society of Kenya has variant figures from their audited statements and their operational reports,” the analysts said in a document.

The analysts said performers society’s statements on 2014 and 2015 differ in the reports of their operations and the statements of income.

They were thus undecided on whether to go with the figures in the reports or those in the statements. The bodies are known as Collective Management Organisations and are: Music Copyright Society of Kenya, Kenya Association of Music Producers and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya.

The Collective organisations are licensed by the Kenya Copyright Board and all three identify themselves as non-profit companies.

MANAGING THE PROCESS
Of the three, music copyright society is the biggest earner. It collected Sh273.6 million in 2013, Sh326.2 million in 2014 and Sh360.9 million in 2015. It then paid out Sh82.6 million in 2013, Sh120.5 million in 2014 and Sh129 million last year.

The copyright society pays royalties to musicians. It collects 80 per cent of its money from public places such as matatus, its chief executive, Maurice Okoth, told the committee in a meeting on February 11. 

The society has 12,500 members and represents the rights and interests of authors, composers, arrangers and publishers.

The Performers’ society, whose figures are in doubt, collected Sh23.9 million in 2014 and paid out Sh5.8 million, Sh43.1 million in 2014 and paid out royalties of Sh17.6 million.

It was not clear how much they collected and paid out in 2015 so their calculations were not included in the document. The organisation collects for actors.

The music producers collected Sh19.1 million in 2013 and paid out Sh6 million, Sh29.4 million in 2014 and paid out Sh8 million and Sh39.2 million in 2015, of which Sh10.8 million was paid out.

The committee is considering crafting a law to create a government entity to manage the collection of fees and pay artistes based on a well understood formula.

A sub-committee chaired by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is handling the matter.

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