Performance artists cry foul over poor royalties

In General, Leadership

Musicians and other performers in Kenya, for a start, clearly are not getting their effort’s worth, and probably will never be able to do so at least for now, unless urgent and efficient measures are taken by all concerned.

Why, if after years and years on end in prolific music performance, musicians Daddy Owen and Nonini are among many other stars that are yet to get what they deserve from their exceptional display of music talent; this is despite widespread public expectations that they should do so without a sweat (after they work).

The problem
Appearing on the latest episode of Citizen TV’s  “Women in Leadership” programme aired last Friday night, at least three of the most celebrated musicians in the country were visibly a disgruntled lot because they say, each round, they almost always fail to earn a decent income from their diligent production and performance efforts.

“I look forward to the day even when I am at my 70’s and older, I am still able to earn a good living from my royalties, which is highly unlikely though, ” starts Daddy Owen, one of the nation’s illustrious musicians.

READ: Techpreneurs see opportunity in music royalty problems

The other two performers at least, have more or less the same sentiments, which amounts to the same thing anyway: they are not getting what they have poured their hearts, much money and sweat into.

But some spirits in the music and performance sector are yet to lose the hope I have long lost– in fact they still work and wait for a brighter future for all talented and refined artists in the country.

All is not lost
Performance Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) chief executive Angela Ndambuki has, for a few years now, been determinedly and successfully lobbying for the rights of member musicians.

Among other things, former Tattu band member, in her capacity now as a lawyer, is diligently working through PRISK to help members get their deserved share from their performances.

“We tirelessly push for the rights of both sound recording and audio-visual musicians, and even actors,” explains the jovial executive at the Citizen TV run interview.

Musicians welfare
And learning from the sad fates of such exceptional musicians and actors as Daudi Kabaka and Mzee Ojwang respectively, MS Ndambuki says PRISK is even dutifully paying insurance for both actors and musicians working with them.

“Also as a royalty collection organisation, we pay without fail our members on a quarterly basis,”  she adds.

Great sacrifice
But those milestones have come with a great price because, according to Ndambuki, even the Music and Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), initially seemingly ignorant of the clear aims PRISK was ardently seeking to achieve, audaciously stood in the way of a firm now internationally recognised to be doing its proper work.

“I believe in God and that is why we have been able to get this far, ” concludes the PRISK founder.

BY MOSES OMUSOLO

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