Backlash against new artistes fees

Saturday July 14 2018

Basata executive secretary Godfrey Mngereza

Basata executive secretary Godfrey Mngereza 

By John Namkwahe and Zourha Malisa @johnteck3

Dar es Salaam. Artistes and artists have expressed mixed views over the new fees structure introduced by the National Arts Council (Basata).

The structure requires a marketing firm or individual, that wants to commercially engage an artiste to pay Sh5 million to the body before signing a deal with a particular artiste.

The structure, featured in the regulations gazetted on February 9 under the National arts Council Act Chapter 204, has caused a huge debate.

The regulations, require musicians, marketing companies, advertising agencies and telecommunication firms, to pay various fees to the Council.

The fees will be charged if the companies would use local musicians for branding and marketing their services and products.

Foreign artistes, excluding those from East Africa, are required to pay Sh1.5 million to the Council to perform in Tanzania.

Basata executive secretary Godfrey Mngereza clarified that the move was aimed at empowering local artistes. According to him, the funds will be used to implement various projects, which will improve arts in the country.

However, some of artistes, who spoke to The Citizen, criticized the move. Bongo flavour artiste Nickson Simon (Alias Nikki wa Pili) observed that the move would have a negative impact on most artistes, who have already entered contracts with various companies.

“It will be too expensive for a company to hire a local artiste due to the fees. My worry is that they will opt for foreign artistes because they won’t pay that huge fees comparing to hiring a local talent,” noted Nikki wa Pili.

The same sentiments were echoed by the president of Tanzania Music Federation, Mr Addo November, who claimed that the government did not consult arts stakeholders before formulating the regulations.

According to him, even if the government intentions were good, stakeholders were entitled to be consulted so that they could give their imputs.

However, a famous Bongo Flavour music producer Paul Matthysse (alias P-funk) was of a different opinion. P-Funk was optimistic that the move would have positive impact to the music industry.

“I think local musicians will now start to reap fruit of their work. Previously, firms were signing contracts with local musicians without consulting Basata, sometimes taking advantage of them,” observed Mr P-Funk.

When reached for comments over the phone, the secretary general of Tanzania Urban Music Association, Mr Samwel Mbwana, stated, “Some of the fees are still challenging and will have negative impacts on the industry.”

He quickly added, “I do, however, commend the Council for reducing some of the fees”.

He however further expounded that the Council did not consult with the music stakeholders when formulating the legislation.