• Wednesday, 19 June 2024
Ezekiel Mutua hits back at KECOBO over disparities in distribution of royalties

Ezekiel Mutua hits back at KECOBO over disparities in distribution of royalties

Music Copyright Society of Kenya CEO Ezekiel Mutua has fired back at the Kenya Copyright Board over claims that there were disparities in the monies collected as royalties for 2023 by the three Collective Management Organisations.

In a statement on Wednesday shortly after KECOBO chair Joshua Kutuny invited EACC and the DCI to probe the figures, Mutua said the criteria of distribution that would allocate artistes 70 per cent of monies collected is non-existent.

He said the distribution which started on January 25, is still ongoing and will run until March 29, 2024.

“We ran a public notice on the 19th of January citing the amount of money to be distributed and the criteria to be used for distribution. We cited the rules of distribution and criteria based on log sheets from licensed broadcasters and the amount of money declared for distribution,” he said on X.

“But today, KECOBO says we should have paid using something they are calling the 70 per cent rule. Where exactly in the Copyright Act or any other law in Kenya does it talk of the 70 per cent rule?” he posed.

According to Kutuny, the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) and Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) jointly collected Sh249,687,212.80 in royalties but there were disparities in amounts declared by individual entities.

“While KAMP and PRISK declared a collection of Sh249 million and they accounted for Sh61 million and Sh52.7 million, respectively, MCSK on its part declared receipts of Sh109 million representing a shortfall of Sh26 million,” Kutuny said.

He added that MCSK presented a list of members who received royalties in 2023 but on review, the Board of Directors found the information presented was scanty and at variance with details on joint collection.

“Cumulatively, MCSK declared total revenues of Sh139,295,094 comprising of Public Performance (109 million) and Mechanical income (thirty million),” he said.

“In view of the above, I directed that the matter be handed over to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for investigations. The letters to those two institutions’ CEOs have been prepared and dispatched,” Kutuny said.

But Mutua termed the move as “sideshows” saying MCSK will issue a comprehensive report on the distribution upon conclusion of the distribution exercise on March 29, 2024.

In response to Kutuny’s claims that the collection of royalties for mechanicals was poor, Mutua said the biggest revenue stream for Kenyan artists is Skiza tunes.

“KECOBO we should clean that one too,” he said.

“When MCSK administered Skiza Tunes (Ring back tunes) it once paid an individual artist over Sh20 million. Why is KECOBO focusing on the imaginary misappropriation of Sh56 million when proper payment of Skiza Tunes would change the whole scenario and make artists rich? Why the sideshows?” he asked.

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