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Government plans to pay artiste royalties via eCitizen

Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has unveiled ambitious plans to revolutionise the payment of artists’ royalties through the government’s eCitizen platform.

In a statement released on February 11, the CS disclosed that efforts are underway to introduce amendments to the Copyright Act, paving the way for the establishment of a government-operated Collective Management Organisation.

Once implemented, artistes will have the opportunity to monitor their royalty earnings seamlessly through the centralised eCitizen platform.

“All music, copyrights, and royalties will be paid through eCitizen. Our artists will be individually registered, allowing them to track their earnings online. The era of exploitation against our artists is over,” he said on his X platform.

Also read: Ezekiel Mutua, Angela Ndambuki say CMOs can’t pay musicians deserved royalties

Presently, copyright royalties are managed and disbursed through entities such as the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK).

However, artists registered with these associations have long lamented inadequate compensation and irregular remittance of royalties.

Fena Gitu joining the popular trend and lamenting about royalty payments.
Fena Gitu joining the popular trend and lamenting about royalty payments. PHOTO| COURTESY

MCSK recently announced the disbursement of music royalties to its members for the 2023 financial year.

According to MCSK Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua, a total of 16,000 members received a sum of Ksh20 million.

Also read: MCSK explains why some Kenyan musicians are not getting their royalties

Among the top earners were artists like Marakwet Daughter, Rehema Lugose, and Reuben Kigame among others.

Performers affiliated with PRISK have voiced concerns over meagre payments, with notable artists like Wangechi and Nikita Kering expressing dissatisfaction with their earnings.

The move to centralise royalty payments through eCitizen aligns with the government’s broader agenda of streamlining service delivery.

Under the leadership of President William Ruto, efforts have been made to consolidate payments and transactions through a single platform, enhancing transparency and accountability.

In a recent directive, the government mandated all students attending national high schools to remit school fees through eCitizen.

This directive explained as part of President Ruto’s commitment to financial prudence, aims to curb corruption and misuse of funds within educational institutions.

Efforts to reach MCSK Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua for his response to the statements made by the Public Service CS were unsuccessful, as his phone number remained constantly engaged.