How artistes can earn more from royalties

Friday February 11 2022
Ali Kiba
By Ramadhani Ismail

One of the biggest artistes’ fights in the music industry is how they can get paid music royalties for their creative works.

For ages, it has been one of the questions by musicians as to when will they reap what they sow. On January 29, this year, the Government of Tanzania, through its Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA) entity, showed artistes a green light to their utmost wish. Cosota collected Sh312 million royalties from different media including broadcasters who are the biggest users of creative content radio stations. Cosota’s royalty earners list had Alikiba, who received the largest amount, over Sh7.5 million, followed by Rose Muhando, a gospel singer with Sh5.7 million.

Other artistes who reaped big are A Y, Konde gang artiste, Ibraah, Nandy, Saraphina, Maua Sama, Rapcha, Young Lunya, Nay wa Mitego, Bill nass, Frida Amani, Fid Q, Chin Bees, Zaiid, Country Boy, Mr Blue among others.

Despite the attempt, the industry’s fans and other layers are still surprised and grumbling about other big artistes who are shown to have earned little while they have top listed songs in most radio stations and other platforms in the country.

Cosota explains that music royalties are a complicated issue, first is about music content, most of Bongo Flava songs have curse words, sexual art that some media find it offensive. Also not all media have registered to pay artistes’ royalties.

Naomi Mungure, Acting Head of Cosota’s Licencing and Antipiracy Department, says the copyright authority is working to ensure artistes in the music industry are earning more from their creative works. She adds that artistes too should mend their relationship with media, especially broadcasters who are the biggest payers of royalties.

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She told The Beat that Cosota is currently drafting new regulations that will help artistes seal all piracy and ensure the artistes earn better, as per their efforts and works.

“If the media plays an artiste’s song many times, then that particular artiste will earn lots of money because of the number of playtimes, we use the log sheet playlists which the media provide to the Tanzania Communications and Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to determine which artiste earns how much as according to number of times his/her song was played in the media station” says Naomi.

Ms Mungure clarifies further that it’s still in the early stage that’s why there are a number of complaints, but the copyright entity will work on each for artistes to get their rightful shares.

Speaking with Godfrey Abel, who is known as Bob Abel, music video director and manager he says the move is a good start. He expressed that it was encouraging to see the government is now working to boost the music industry by firstly bringing back Tanzania Music Awards and giving artistes royalties.

“It is a good start, although we need to do more research and work to involve other players in the industry not just singers. There are other top players like producers and other artistes from different areas,” says Bob Abel Rajabu Kinoge, manager of hip-hop artiste Kontawa, also shares his thoughts on royalties.He says, “Now our government remembers artistes, so it’s time to pull up our socks, Kontawa earned little, but that doesn’t mean he should quit, he is still a great artiste, we just need to work more creatively to earn more next time.”

On the other hand, producer T-touch expressed his appreciations to Cosota’s efforts, saying it had been artistes’ battle for almost 10 years to earn at least a small share of royalties for their work

“I can’t disclose how much I earn but it’s an inspiration because we have been fighting for a long time for this”, says producer and musician,T touch. Neighbouring countries like Kenya and Rwanda, broadcasting media threaten not to play local artistes songs, and the hits of other artistes do not get the chance to be played in the media house.

Rwandan artiste Yvan Buravan explained that it is time for Africa embraced the technology and let artistes enjoy their works from their local media, adding that this will help push music to the next level.