Elani calls out MCSK on unpaid dues and lack of transparency on royalties

Elani. Image from http://momanyiharun.com/2014/05/28/nairobis-freshest-band-elani-is-a-reflection-of-what-real-music-should-be/

You may have been wondering what Elani Muziki have been up to. The group, who have wowed fans with songs like Kookoo, Milele, Barua ya Dunia, Jana Usiku and Hapo Zamani are back, this time not singing but talking about how the  Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has allegedly been behaving badly. Elani talk about the frustration of trying to access their royalties and being offered peanuts. Elani who had a really successful 2014/2015 in terms of their music being played on radio were shocked to get less then Ksh. 35,000 shillings for their efforts.

Elani. Image from http://momanyiharun.com/2014/05/28/nairobis-freshest-band-elani-is-a-reflection-of-what-real-music-should-be/
Elani. Image from http://momanyiharun.com/2014/05/28/nairobis-freshest-band-elani-is-a-reflection-of-what-real-music-should-be/

Elani are calling out to MCSK to be transparent, open their ledgers to be inspected and to ensure they give artists their dues. Listen to Elani talking about their experience.

#ElaniSpeaks – Where We Have Been

Artists have complained before about MCSK and not getting their dues. But the tide is turning as musicians of nowadays are usually well educated and know their rights. Many young artists have information on copyright, royalties and contracts. The new breed of artists are not the type to take their money being misappropriated as a casual thing especially as many of them are now taking up music professionally and expect to see the fruits of their labour.

Elani said “Any creative work that I do. Any creative work that I go ahead to register, I should then be entitled to receive money for that work. If I have created it, any revenue generated from me should come back to me as creator. What MCSK is done has collected money, and then from what we can see, found a way to shift and dodge from paying out the artist. And now we’re calling it out.”

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this issue. Will more artists come out to support Elani to ask MCSK to do the right thing? MCSK has been collecting millions of shillings from radio stations, matatus, event organizers, cabs, and businesses that play music. Where all this money goes is subject to debate, especially because MSK employees seem to be paid very well but the artists who they should be serving are paid peanuts. Hopefully this video will promote a discussion on the rights of artists and the role of MSK in making sure that artists are able to live off their music.

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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]