Roba: We want our money, MCSK!
Robert Munkiri is angry. The former Kleptomaniax member is seething with rage at MCSK because despite having released two hit albums with his group, Roba says they are yet to receive a penny from the society.
Robert Munkiri is angry. The former Kleptomaniax member is seething with rage at MCSK because despite having released two hit albums with his group, Roba says they are yet to receive a penny from the society. He tells JOHN MUCHIRI why he he would like to see changes at the copyright society and why Poxi Presha would be disappointed with the state of the music industry.
BUZZ: Have we heard the last of Kleptomaniax?
It’s an off season for us. After doing two albums, we are now trying to work on our solo projects and see how far we can go.
Collo is releasing his new single, Nyash is still in the US pursuing other interests and whether we will get back as a group or not depends on what happens in the future.
What about you?
Currently, I’m nurturing new talent through my studio, Music Plant Records, which I co-own with my brother. My music will be coming out soon but I’m also working with many upcoming and talented artistes.
You have said you’re very bitter, why?
Because of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya. It’s become too much and I must speak about the problems artistes are facing now.
Many musicians are not getting their rightful dues out of their intellectual property. MCSK is making so much money from the music but not paying us the way it is supposed to; something that has been going on for a long time.
Why raise this issue now?
Because someone has to say it. So many artistes, who entirely depend on music to feed their children and pay their bills, are suffering silently.
If Poxi Presha came back to life right now, he would be so disappointed that the same cause he was fighting for when he died is still unresolved. Do you know why MCSK exists?
Because someone has to collect royalties for the artistes?
No, because there are musicians in this country who have worked very hard and for many years to put their music out there. The employers here are the artistes. They need us.
Where do you think is the problem?
It’s with the entire MCSK board, not an individual. They collect money from bars, restaurants, matatus, taxis, events, radio stations and so on, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know how many there are in this country.
As artistes, we own that money, we are the bosses. Now they have turned it around and we have become servants, begging for the money we have rightfully earned.
And why haven’t you as musicians complained directly to MCSK?
Go to their offices right now and you will see how many musicians are lining up to seek audience. Nothing fruitful comes out.
I was saddened the other day when an insider at MCSK said that the problem with Kenyan artistes is that we don’t ask questions.
That was a wake-up call for me. Many artistes are suffering and with the new Constitution, we have a right to speak our mind.
Any solutions you are proposing?
Yes, we need to put some musicians on the MCSK board who will ensure there is transparency.
As a registered artiste, I would want to see a situation where I just log in to the MCSK systems and see the progress of my music in a more transparent way.
At the moment, it’s a headache and there’s no transparency at all.
You’re speaking as Klepto?
No, I did not consult Collo or Nyash before speaking to you, I’m speaking as Robert Munkiri, a registered artiste at MCSK.
I am also speaking on behalf of many upcoming musicians who have no foundation in this industry but are hopeful.
We have been quiet for too long. Poxi had a vision of taking the flag to the peak, it is yet to get there.
Is Klepto registered at the MCSK and have you ever been paid royalties?
Klepto is registered as a group, I’m also registered as an artiste but for as long as I can remember, we have never been paid royalties as Klepto, even with the hits that we made.