Online platform to streamline collection of fees owed to Kenyan musicians

June 6, 2018
Pubs Entertainment and Restaurant Association has re-affirmed its support for the creative economy, of which the music and entertainment industry is a major component.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 6 – An online platform that will streamline and fast-track the collection of fees charged for the background use of musical work, sound recordings and audiovisual works has been launched by the Collective Management Organizations (CMO).

The organisations represented by Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) and Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE) are working in collaboration with the hotel and entertainment industry to bring this initiative to fruition.

This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2017 that captured the re-negotiated tariff principle with the intention of standardizing the formula for calculating the percentage paid for license fees.

The new tariff is based on a percentage of the single business permit (SBP) and liquor license (LL) where applicable.

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers CEO, Mike Macharia lauded the move re-emphasizing the commitment by businesses in the hotel industry to support creatives.

“Following the six months’ pilot phase of the new tariffs agreed and signed during the MOU, the hotels and entertainment industry is committed to ensuring that the negotiated tariff works to the benefit of both parties,” he said.

The new negotiated tariff is a percentage fee of between 20pc – 30pc of the single business permit and liquor license fees he added.

The MOU signing was necessitated by the concerns raised following a gazette notice published in April 2017 which resulted in a tariff structure that did not take into the economic challenges faced by business community in the hospitality and entertainment industry.

It was also cumbersome to calculate the amount of fees paid for royalties, subsequently leading to some proprietors paying exorbitant license fees.

Stakeholders and the relevant CMO’s were hosted by Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), to renegotiate the music royalty tariffs payable specifically for the use of background music by the members of these associations and develop a more professional efficient method of collection.

Macharia, however, noted that there has been a slow uptake since the MOU was signed citing miscommunication and lack of transparency as the challenge.

“We want to grow the compliant numbers to support musicians while taking advantage of the new online platform and the negotiated tariff to bring on board more businesses that did not comply in the past due to lack of transparency” he said.

Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Executive Director, Edward Sigei welcomed the move saying that the new online platform will increase efficiency in payment and reduce corruption cases that have marred the process.

“I am happy that the two parties have come up with this platform after successful engagements over the past six months which should allow for the gazettement of the final tariffs,” he stated.

Pubs Entertainment and Restaurant Association of Kenya (PERAK) National Vice Chairman, Alice Opee re-affirmed that the industry’s commitment in supporting the creative economy, of which the music and entertainment industry is a major component.

“The pilot phase has demonstrated that hotels, bars and restaurants are willing to comply with the levying of copyright royalties by CMOs especially if the tariff system itself is consistent with the basic principles of taxation,” she said

“As part of the continued commitment to an improved efficient and transparent collection and distribution process, the three CMO’s have begun automating the licensing process to enable music users pay for the license to use music” said the chairman of the Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE) Bernard Kioko.

He stated that the potential to increase revenue collection is immense. “There are approximately 60,000 outlets in the industry and currently, revenue collection comprises of less than a quarter of that amount.”

In order to meet the July 4th deadline, the BMO’s and CMO’s will carry out a countrywide awareness campaign to lobby more businesses to register online for the new tariffs.

This exercise is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate inter-industry corporation for the benefit of multiple stakeholders. We envision a gratifying outcome of the campaign and a great future for all.

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