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Why recording association opposes e-Citizen for music royalties distribution

By Sinda Matiko February 25th, 2024 1 min read

The Recording Industry of Kenya (RIKE) has expressed concern over plans by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) to force Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) to disburse music royalties to artists through the government’s e-Citizen platform.

While RIKE agrees that the idea is well-intentioned and could help plug loopholes used by the CMOs board to embezzle and misappropriate musician’s funds, it believes that e-Citizen isn’t necessarily the best option in terms of accountability.

In a press release issued by its National Coordinator, Angela Mwandanda, the use of e-Citizen as a platform for the distribution of music royalties doesn’t conform to global standard practice and may, therefore fail to address systemic problems in the management of music rights in Kenya.

Also read: Kecobo exposes list of 15 top artistes paid less royalties by MCSK

RIKE contends that while e-Citizen may serve as a competent resource mobilisation platform, it lacks the technological sophistication required for accurate invoicing, licensing and monitoring of sound recording use, all of which are necessary for fair distribution of royalties to rights holders.

This sophistication includes the CMOs’ use of specialised IT systems such as membership management, repertoire databases and proprietary technologies that comply with global data delivery formats, which are critical for the seamless exchange of metadata and royalty payments.

The organisation also argues that the government’s proposal clearly shows that it doesn’t fully understand the complexities of copyright management, which has traditionally been handled by CMOs or directly by rights holders themselves rather than through a government platform.