In a bid to revolutionize the music industry and uplift Kenyan musicians, Ezekiel Mutua, the Chief Executive Officer of Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), has embarked on a mission to ensure artists receive substantial royalties, aiming to make them billionaires in the process.
Since assuming office in 2022, Mutua has been vocal about his vision to transform the fortunes of musicians across Kenya. His commitment was evidenced in May 2023 when he oversaw MCSK’s distribution of Kes. 15 million in royalties, with the highest earner receiving Kes. 330,000 and the lowest Kes. 258.
However, Mutua faced criticism in 2023 when some artists, like Bien-Aime Baraza, reported receiving significantly low royalties compared to previous years. Baraza, for instance, saw his earnings rise to Kes. 14,634 in 2023 from Kes. 2,500 in 2022, sparking discontent among musicians. Bein points out though it’s an improvement, he says they can do better.
Determined to rectify these disparities, Mutua orchestrated the first disbursement of royalties for 2024 on Thursday, January 25, at Safari Park Hotel, injecting Kes. 20 million into the music ecosystem. This time, the payouts reflected a more equitable distribution, with prominent figures such as Rehema Lugose from Copy Bird Publishers receiving a substantial Kes. 757,092, while other artists like Marakwet Daughter and Otile Brown earned Kes. 110,000 and Kes. 120,000, respectively.
Addressing the audience during the ceremony, Lazarus Muli, chairman of MCSK, expressed confidence in the revamped distribution system. He remarked, “In the past, artists lamented meager earnings. This time, I am certain that none will receive royalties as low as Kes. 1,000, let alone Kes. 600. Musicians are now cashing hefty cheques.”
Dr. Mutua reiterated his commitment to elevating Kenyan musicians to unprecedented financial heights, disclosing that the total budget for 2024 royalties stands at a staggering 2 billion Kenyan shillings. With this being the first quarter disbursement, Dr.Mutua assured artists of subsequent payouts in April and September, signaling a year of prosperity and growth for the music industry.
As Mutua’s vision gains momentum, Kenyan musicians are poised to chart a new course towards economic empowerment and financial stability, transcending the confines of previous earnings and propelling themselves towards billionaire status.