Artistes smile to the bank after Safaricom releases Skiza millions

The payments were to be released in July 2015

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Rapper Collo joins other Kenyan artistes protesting over royalties. Safaricom has released the monies to the artistes' CMOs. PHOTO: BONI MWALII/NMG

After months of waiting, musicians are now set to receive payments for Skiza tunes, after telecommunications giant Safaricom released the money to collective management organizations.

The organisations that present the artistes include Music Copyright Society of Kenya, Kenya Association of Music Producers and Performers Rights Society of Kenya.

The CMOs released a statement on Tuesday, May 10, noting that they received the funds after a four-year negotiations and meetings with Safaricom and other stakeholders.

Safaricom came out to calm jitters on April 12 arising from artistes by assuring them their money collected through Skiza call back tunes were safe.

The giant telecom firm’s Corporate affairs director Stephen Chege reportedly said the company was ready to pay the CMOs Sh152 million in Skiza royalties.

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According to a statement from the firm, artistes associated with Skiza platform were asked to submit details such as their Skiza codes via www.digitalrights.or.ke or give CMOs offices countrywide a visit.

The statement went on to say that the payments will be released in phases and that the musicians will be contacted immediately their batch is finalised due to the “intensity and technicality of the joint CMO operations”.

“We urge all artistes to bear with us in this regard as we ensure that payment is processed as efficiently as possible,” also read part of the statement.

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Meanwhile the CMOs have come out saying they were in the process of negotiating better future payments for musicians.

They also thanked musicians for their patience as Safaricom was meant to pay them in July 2015, as monetisation of their work was being streamlined.

A group of artistes asked the court to put the payments on hold last year. They wanted brakes put on the implementation of a signed pact between Safaricom and the CMOs.

They said: “We are also grateful to Safaricom for rewarding the creative efforts of our artistes and look forward to increasing the revenue to the rights holders”.

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This happened even as MCSK led artistes last March in a peaceful demo to have Safaricom release money owed to them in form of Skiza tune royalties.

MCSK officials in the company of the artistes walked from their Westlands offices to Safaricom’s headquarters situated along Waiyaki Way.

They gave the telecommunications giant a petition which asked for the immediate release of the cash.

In its response, Safaricom insisted transparency by the CMOs in the way they did their accounting and also accountability to its members, as well as ensure artistes are well informed by supplying them with the correct information.
Via the Star