Currently, approximately 8 out of 10 people have a Skiza Tune. Have you ever asked yourself how the artistes of the music are paid?
Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel for artistes who have been struggling to receive their Skiza tune dues since 2015.
This follows the release of Kshs. 152 million by Safaricom Limited for payment of the artistes.
The money was released after a case that had been filed at Malindi court was concluded in favour of Collective management Organizations (CMOs) and Premium Rate Service Providers (PRSPs) which saw them receiving a total of Kshs 141.675 million and Kshs. 10.3 million respectively.
Thousands of artistes, singers, sound engineers, songwriters, music producers and performers whom their music has been sold through Safaricom’s Skiza Tunes platform will be dancing all the way to the bank as a result.
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“Last month we said that we were ready and willing to pay the money owed to the artists as soon as we received the go-ahead from the court, and that is exactly what we have done,” said Stephen Chege, the Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom.
“We are committed to supporting local music talent and giving musicians a platform to sell their music to the millions of subscribers registered on the Safaricom network, and in that way transform the lives of our artistes by providing another avenue for them to generate an income from their work,” he added.
When the Skiza Tunes platform was established by Safaricom, it was aimed to reward songwriters, music producers and artistes for their excellent work. Currently the platform have registered a total of 11,000 songs from 5,000 artistes.
A partnership agreement for payment of royalties to various artistes was made on August 2015 by Safaricom and Collective management Organizations which are; Music Copyright Society of Kenya, Performers’ Rights Society of Kenya and Kenya Association of music Producers.
In the agreement ,the funds was to be paid via the CMO’s but not the PRSPs. The agreement was signed as per the Copyrights Act 2012, that requires content providers to pay artists as per their respective CMOs and who the law mandates them to collect license fees and distribute royalties
Despite the agreement some of the artistes were not happy about the money being paid through CMOs and they went ahead and filed a case at the Nairobi High Court.
They wanted Safaricom to pay them via PRSPs. This forced Safaricom to withhold the Money until the case was determined.
“Our interest is in supporting Kenya’s music industry, and we are ready to work with various stakeholders to do this so that those who have chosen a career in music can make an honest living from it,” said Mr. Chege.
“Our wish is to see more transparency and accountability in the industry because this is the only way it can grow, and the only way it can produce and attract more talent.”
Before the case was determined, Safaricom with efforts of resolving the issue, called a meeting for all the stakeholders. This happened in January 2016 but unfortunately no definite conclusion was made. This saw another case being filed, barring Safaricom from releasing the money to artistes either through CMOs or PRSPs, at the Malindi Law Courts.