Veteran Producer Tedd Josiah Speaks on the Pain of Making Music With No Returns

Tedd Josish, a renowned Kenyan music producer, entrepreneur, and designer, has opened up about the frustrations of creating music without receiving any royalty payments. Josiah, the founder of the luxury bag companyJokajok African Luxury and the former head of Audio Vault Studios, has worked with some of Kenya’s biggest musical acts over his 30-year career, including Nazizi, Wyre, Hardstone, Didge, Masauti, and Mnasi.

On June 4th, 2024, Josiah took to the social media platform X to express his anguish over the broken royalty system in Kenya’s music industry. In a heartfelt post, he wrote, “My heart bleeds and hurts when I think about giving Kenya all my youth, using my gifts and talents to build the music industry, only to earn ZERO royalties because of a broken system made intentionally broken by people busy building palaces with artists’ money! God intervene.”

In an accompanying video, Josish elaborated on his struggles, recounting his work on popular albums like “Kenyan Boy,” “Kenyan Girl,” “Atoti,” and “Unbwogable.” Despite his contributions to these successful projects, he lamented never receiving a single shilling in royalties.

“I have not seen one shilling in royalty out of all the albums I’ve ever done, not one shilling,” Josiah said in the video. “And today, when my child expresses an interest in learning music, I’m faced with the tough question: Do I want her to cling onto music, something she loves, only for her not to receive royalties either?”

Josiah’s candid comments have reignited the conversation around the need for a fair and transparent royalty system in Kenya’s music industry. With the copyright boards currently in disarray, many artists and producers like Josish feel their hard work and dedication have gone uncompensated.

“I don’t know if I want my kids to be musicians because I don’t want them to feel the pain that I am speaking with right now,” Josiah said. “I don’t want them to feel that anger of putting their heart, mind, body, soul, and money into this thing and not receiving a single shilling.”

As the music industry continues to evolve, Josiah’s words serve as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by those who contribute to the creation of art but are denied their fair share of the rewards.