Musicians spell out royalty terms to broadcasters
Posted Thursday, December 30 2010 at 00:00
Broadcasters will start paying a set fraction of their revenues as royalties on music played on their stations next year to allow the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) to boost the earnings of musicians complaining of poor pay.
The society currently charges the broadcasters Sh216,000 per year on each radio frequency and Sh72,000 for televisions stations.
But it now plans to charge the broadcasters a fraction of their revenues to grow its collections.
The music agency is seeking to boost its kitty at a time when musicians are complaining that the bulk of the royalties are being consumed by MCSK’s operational expenses with the measly surplus being distributed to the musicians.
The chief executive of MCSK Maurice Okoth said the planned revenue initiatives will help the society increase the fees paid to musicians and put the country in step with international practices.
“We will soon be holding a discussion with the media owners on this to agree on the way forward, especially on the percentage to be levied,” said Mr Okoth in an interview on Wednesday.
He said the top artistes are being paid an average of Sh100,000 monthly on royalties, but some musicians complain that they are getting as low as Sh6,000 per month.
The number of musicians represented by the society has increased from 400 in 2007—the year of its inception, to 1, 300 in June.
The shift in collection of royalties is set to boost MCSK’s revenues given the growth of Kenya’s media and the robust profits of media firms such as Nation Media Group (NMG) and Standard Group that are announcing double digit profit growth in line with the recovery of the economy.
In the year to June, 2010, they raised Sh13 million from broadcasting stations such as NTV, Kiss FM, Q fm and Kameme among others— up from Sh5 million in the previous year.
The MCSK’s total revenues stood at Sh185 million in the year to June 2010, up from Sh118 a year ago, while it’s running expenses, excluding royalties, stood at Sh137 million—a pointer that it paid musicians 25 per cent of its collections or Sh48 million, a figure that has invited the ire of artistes.
Its high operating expenses is in breach of government regulations and it caught the eye of its auditors.
“MCSK operates under a licence from Copy Board of Kenya which restricts MCSK operating costs to 30 per cent of the total collected revenue,” said a brief from its auditors Mitoka and Company.
“MCSK has not managed to keep within this limit as the total expenditure in the year 2009/2010 was 76.4 of the total revenue collected.”