President Kenyatta orders centralized payment of artist royalties

All content service providers will now be required to channel all payment of royalties through a single centrally-managed account at the Kenya Copyright Board.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said this will enable oversight by the regulator and ensure that the collection distribution accounts are easily audited.

Poor payment of royalties to local artists has long been a thorny issue in Kenya’s performing arts scene.

In August last year, there was uproar among local artists who cried foul after receiving royalties that were as low as 2500 shillings from the Music Copyrights Society of Kenya.

An agreement was later reached in December that all artists’ revenue collection should be done by one agency mandated to pay the entertainers their dues after pooling all royaltiesN

And now, President Kenyatta has directed that all digital content service providers must now channel their royalty payments to artists to the Kenya Copyrights Board.

This means digital content service providers will no longer be allowed to pay royalties directly to artists or collect revenues on behalf of entertainers.N

President Kenyatta further directed the ministry of ICT in consultation with the Attorney General’s office to ensure that a new tariff structure for royalties be gazetted within the next 1 month.

This coming at a time when the Kenya Association of Music Producers announced that it has paid 33 million shillings to artists in the last 6 months.

The association says it distributed 17 million shillings in August and another 16 million shillings between December last year and January.

Kamp now plans to begin distributing the royalties on a quarterly basis to cushion its members from financial pressure.

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