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Local artistes, performers not earning much as international counterparts

It is no secret local artistes and performers are not earning as healthily as their counterparts in international circles. Alfayo Onyango deciphers in light of KECOBO tariff gazette to boost artiste revenues from hotel industry

You may recall the late Shavey from ‘Shavey and Slice’ duo famed for their Ulopa-produced hit song Gyal, that charted in Jamaica and East Africa highly taking local dancehall music international, or our very infamous Kantai who made rapping in English cool and adaptable. What is common about the two?

They are a clear benchmark of how we neglect our pioneers, let alone the legendary Vitimbi and Vioja Mahakamani actor Mzee Ojwang, who suffered to his death before the government could aid. The carrots were cooked. How can we teach fish how to swim? Aren’t there supposed to be trained, mandated bodies concerned with welfare of the people that keep us informed, and entertained?

Hard-working industry

It is impossible not to recognise  the momentous strides local industry players have taken to promote Kenyan culture and talent. And yet the majority are struggling to make ends meet, a deservice that it’s about time got rectified.

“We want to create an industry for actors, performers, and entertainers so that we transform lives,’’ these were bold remarks by Music Publishing Association f Kenya (MPAKE) director and artiste, Linet Manyali aka Size8.

The statements were made during a joint press conference earlier in the week between stakeholders from MPAKE, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Kenya Associations of Hotel Keepers & Caterers (KAHC), Kenya Actors Guild (KAG) and Pubs and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) in a bid to encourage the respective entities to get licences to use background music created by local artistes in their businesses, through a platform they launched at the same event.

All this is gazetted in an MoU delivered the same day as PERAK assured its compliance in ensuring bars and restaurants comply in harmony urging other Business Management Organisations (BMOs) to do the same.

The meeting, which was chaired by KAHC CEO, Mike Macharia, introduced a digital platform where local businesses using background music performed by locals will be expected to pay a fee of Sh500 for a year-long licence. The move comes in compliance to the law, and in spirit of development of local talent.

Obstacles

Wanuri Kahiu’s film, Rafiki, sparked worldwide debate after becoming not only the first-ever local film to premiere at the just-concluded Cannes Film Festival, but also for being banned in 254. The move by the Kenya Film Classicfication Board (KFCB) went sour with the world over confronting the decision via rant on social media platforms.

Besides this, there are false bodies that have been exploiting Kenyan businesses that have recognised licences from bodies such as PRISK, and not the disbanded Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), that are purporting the government and taking advantage of naivety of Kenyans on copyright works and Collective Management Organisations (CMOs).

On a high-end

Every broadcaster, business entity, public service vehicle, hotel, pub, restaurant, vehicle, artiste, performer, producer, audiovisual artistes or content creators that publish their works must register to the recognised bodies mandated by government to distribute royalties to artistes, which are MPAKE, PRISK, and KAMP.

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