Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has unveiled plans to revolutionize the payment of artists’ royalties through the government’s eCitizen platform.
In a statement released on Sunday night, CS Kuria disclosed that the government is taking proactive steps to amend the Copyright Act, paving the way for the establishment of a state-run Collective Management Organisation.
Should these amendments be ratified, artists will gain the ability to monitor their royalty earnings seamlessly through the centralized eCitizen platform.
“All music, copyrights, and royalties will be transacted through eCitizen,” proclaimed the CS. “Our artists will undergo individual registration and will have access to online tracking of collected revenue. The era of exploiting our artists is over.”
Presently, copyright royalties are managed and disbursed by entities such as the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK).
However, artists registered with these associations have long voiced grievances regarding meager annual pay for their creative works and the irregular remittance of performance royalties.
Towards the end of January, MCSK announced the commencement of music royalty disbursements to its members for the 2023 financial year.
MCSK Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua disclosed that a staggering 16,000 members received a total sum of Ksh20 million.
Among the highest earners were Rehema Lugose, affiliated with Copy Bird Publishers, who received Ksh757,092, followed by Reuben Kigame (Ksh122,410), Otile Brown (Ksh120,000), Praise Makena (Ksh110,000), and Marakwet Daughter (Ksh108,123).
Notably, performers affiliated with PRISK also expressed dissatisfaction with their earnings. Rapper Wangechi, for instance, received a paltry Ksh1,215 for her music in 2021, while RnB musician Nikita Kering’ received the same amount.
President William Ruto’s administration has consistently championed centralized service delivery through the eCitizen platform.