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List of MCSK’s highest royalty earners in 2024

By Sinda Matiko January 29th, 2024 3 min read

Perhaps things are changing for the better, maybe these are baby steps, or maybe not, but just a façade as a good number of artiste remain skeptical on matters of royalties distribution.

For decades’ Kenyan artistes have always lamented the poor royalties minted to them in every distribution phase by the three Collective Management Organizations (CMO) Music Copyright of Kenya (MCSK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), and Performers Right Society of Kenya (PRISK).

When the garrulous Dr Ezekiel Mutua assumed office in March 2022 as the new CEO of MCSK, the CMO with the largest membership standing at 16,000, his promise to Kenyan musicians was that he would make them ‘billionaires’.

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His appointment was met with mixed reactions from various facets of artistes who questioned the controversial figurehead’s successes during his tenure as the CEO of Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB), where he is best remembered for his notoriety of picking online fights with artistes time and again.

“At KFCB, I was a regulator, so I was not there to make friends. But in my new role, I am here to fight for artists. My promise to all musicians is ‘pesa mfukoni’. I am here to make our artistes billionaires. I will fight for artists the same way I fought for journalists while at the Kenya Union of Journalists,” he told Nation a week into his new appointment.

But since assuming his current designation, Dr Mutua has evidently been doing a lot of chatter-boxing and vaunting, a demeanor he fancies.

Equally, his helm showed an early glimpse of changes in royalty distributions.

In May 2023, his first distribution as the new MCSK boss was Sh15 million, with the highest earner receiving Sh330,000 and the lowest receiving Sh258.

As it has been the norm for moons, a good number of artistes expressed their displeasure.

Vocalist Bien Aime Baraza argued that MCSK could still do better despite receiving Sh14,634, which was an improvement compared to the Sh2,500 he had received in 2022.

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In defense, Mutua stated MCSK had done better with the distribution, considering they had been locked into a license debacle with the regulator Kenya Copyright Board of Kenya (KECOBO) at the time.

“It’s quite a trial. We have tried because they used to get Sh1,000, and remember, we are doing this distribution without a license. We knew some would be happy while others would not because it depends on the airplay,” Mutua asserted.

On Thursday, January 25, at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, MCSK made its first royalties payout in the quarter of the year, distributing Sh20 million.

There were improved earnings from the previous distribution with the lowest receiving Sh5,000 and the highest walking away with close to Sh800,000, according to Mutua.

We managed to put together a list of the highest earners of the recent disbursement although the list might not be comprehensive as some of the artistes invited at Safari Park didn’t disclose their amounts.

The highest earner Rehema Lugose, an accomplished figure from Copy Bird publishers, took home a cheque of Sh757,092.

1. Rehema Lugose – Sh757,092
2. Rueben Kigame – Sh122,410
3. Otile Brown – Sh120,000
4. Praise Makena – Sh110,000
5. Marakwet Daughter – Sh108, 123
6. Stephen Kasolo – Sh106,862
7. Joseph Shisia Wasira – Sh101,137
8. Joseph Ngala – Sh101,032
9. Jackson Wambua – Sh91, 524
10. Solomon Mkubwa – Sh74,138
11. De Mathew –Sh70,094.

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Other artistes who received over Sh100,000 but didn’t want to disclose their payment publicly included Bien Aime Baraza, Nyashinski, Jua Cali, Florence Mureithi, Octopizzo, Samido, Steve K and gospel singers Deno, Mary Wanjiru (Shiro Wa JP), Ruth Wamuyu, Anastacia Mukabwa and Sharry Martin.