The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has tripled its tariffs for roadshows, presenting politicians with yet another spending shock during looming campaign season.
Under the new changes, politicians will pay MCSK Sh30,000 per day or a flat annual fees of Sh620,000 for truck roadshows.
Corporate entities, non-governmental organisations and State agencies undertaking promotional road shows also face the same rates.
The new figures represent a tripling of the charges which have been standing at Sh10,000 per day.
“The collecting of society tariffs take effect from the date of publication to the 31st December, 2018,” Attorney General Githu Muigai says in the legal notice number 57 published on April 21 adding that “the Copyright Act (Kenya Association of Music Producers and performance Rights Society of Kenya) Tariffs of 2015 is revoked.”
Prof Muigai has signed off the new rates, clearing the way for the rollout after last week’s nomination headwinds.
Politicians who fail to pay for music copyright at the specified rates face a penalty equivalent to five per cent charge on the defaulted tariff, a charge which is to be compounded for the period it remains unpaid.
Even more defining is the fact that the tariff are subject to an annual increment pegged on “the prevailing rate of inflation”.
The demand for copyrighted music has risen during this season of heightened political activity ahead of the August 8 elections. Political parties had up to yesterday to conclude their nominations.
It is expected that the remaining period to Election Day will be dominated by road shows as candidates try to outdo each other ahead of polls.
Going by an official timelines, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is expected to publish the names of all nominated candidates by June 7, kicking off intense campaigns.
The Sh30,000 charge per day is significant because it adds up to huge amounts of cash in music royalties and a heavy cost to political contestants.
Any candidate who chooses to use trucks every day for the remaining 51 days will, for instance, have to part with Sh1.53 million as the cost of music played during their campaigns.
However, those who won the party primaries and have opted for non-stop campaigns for the remaining three months will have to part with at least Sh2.76 million besides other logistics costs.
The increased rates are set to refocus attention on the revenue collection role of MCSK, a lobby accused by musicians of failing to share billions of shillings collected for copyright.
Last year, Intellectual Property Owners Association and Music Publishers Association of Kenya moved to court to demand “clean up” of the MCSK.
The musicians have lately been pushing for a contractual agreement with Kenya Revenue Authority to take up the role of collecting music licence fee for a commission “as long as it discloses the billions collected publicly before remitting the money to MCSK”.