By Vanessa Muteshi.
It seems most people didnt understand the President’s directive on digital platforms eg skiza and viusasa, during his address to the Nation yesterday. So here is an explanation
Currently artiste can only place their content on skiza through middlemen or companies known as Content Service Providers. These content providers gets a percentage share of payment from safaricom to the artiste who are the rights holders.
However, Artistes have been complaining that as content creators and copy rights holders, they are suppose to earn more from their work instead of the middlemen who have been minting millions
The president therefore has directed the elimination of these middlemen companies so that artist can earn directly from digital platforms through a common Content management organisation that would distribute earnings to artistes.
To there defense, the content providers quickly came to defend their role saying its through them that the artistes can actualize their earnings. “Middlemen are not the problem. Maybe each artist should just invest in their own Content Provider! Content Providers have invested heavily on coding and setting up systems, they do not force artists to sign up. Even professional athletes sign up to Managers, its the contract that determines who gets what. The work of the government, and president is to ensure equitable distribution of resources (our tax) through better policies and legislation, not compete with the publics in profit making. Let the artists develop their own content provision service and sign Safaricom, Airtel, Telkon, RMS (viusasa). Soon even youtube will be seen as the enemy” Malik a content provider based in Nairobi told Uji Moto via phone.
Remember the digital cab drivers who still think Uber is the issue whereas the government has just ensured cost of business in Kenya is damn expensive. Lets first fix the system, the rest will fall in place; If the cost of license for content provider is cheap, artist earn more he added.
Helena a music director in Eldoret is of the view that there should be a meeting of all stakeholders to make everyone benefit from the platform. “It’s a step in the right direction but the implementation of the directive requires a serious framework and we shall end up with many court cases if no dialogue will be fostered. Those middlemen invest heavily in office space, staff,logs and other equipment to monitor airplay on behalf of the artistes using the 5% fee they get from Skiza, Telkon or any other platform”. She said
The President’s “directive” to brought joy to artistes for a longtime viewed the content providers as opportunists just us pirates who are out to eat their hard earned money. “With the way we run things here it might end up being another layer to keep artists from their dues. I miss poxi presha… Alikuwa anaenda kwa pirates na mbogi. If you keep an artiste from earning from their work wewe ni pirate”. Freddie an artiste from Dandora reacted.
It is now not clear how the relevant ministry will out to implement the orders of the president. But rest assured Uji Moto will be on the front line to update you as things unfold.