Publishing News

Kenya: Songa agrees to pay more royalties

Apr 12, 2019

Kenyan collective management organizations (CMOs) and music streaming platform Songa this week signed an agreement that will see creators’ streaming rates increase by 10%.

Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) chairperson Japheth Kasanga told Music In Africa that the agreement would favour the 8 000 Kenyan artists registered on the streaming service, and called the move a significant step towards providing a sustainable revenue stream for all music creators and rights holders.

“Before this latest agreement, Songa had previously been signing out artists individually, paying them 30% of the net profit garnered,” Kasanga said. “But with this new agreement, the CMOs have used their huge bargaining power to push for a 10% increase from 30% to 40% with a gradual increase of 5% or 6% depending on the market state.”

While it is clear that the economics of streaming for all artists is likely to receive a welcome boost from the new agreement, Kasanga says the transparency that comes with the new royalty collection and distribution regime will also help.

“We are starting on a clean slate,” he said. “The CMOs are now required to issue a joint licence, which will ensure transparency. As MCSK chairperson, I bring with me a huge experience in managing CMOs.

“I am one of the founders of PRISK [Performers Rights Society of Kenya] and KAMP [Kenya Association of Music Producers]. Artists have never raised any serious concerns about these two CMOs. I plan to use my knowledge garnered from training on copyright and CMO managements to put proper structures in the MCSK and regain the full trust of all of our 15 000 members.”

Kasanga said the new MCSK team comprised a new board as well as David Mureiithi, who was recommended as a special adviser to the board by the Kenya Copyright Board and the Permanent Presidential Music Commission.

Kasanga says the CMOs are working towards finalising similar agreements with other streaming platforms such as Mdundo and Boomplay.