The music copyright society of Kenya registered as a company back in 1843. The company was set up to help artists sustain their earnings from work done. Now it is recognized under the company act as a company limited by a guarantee. It has become a statutory requirement in the music industry, where musicians need to seek out in order to collect revenue owed to them. With guidelines from the copyright laws prorogated under the constitution, the MCSK has jurisdiction over music related revenues in the country.
According to their website they state that their aim is to “at building, mobilizing, institutionalizing, and supporting the Musical fraternity within Kenya, integrating, sustaining and enhancing their earning for their works.” The society, despite facing challenges from headstrong musicians to lawsuits, the MCSK continues to make strides in securing royalties for musicians registered under them. They also state on their website that “We collect and distribute royalties for the exploitation of Performing and Reproduction rights of Authors (songwriters), Composers, Publishers and Arrangers of copyrighted musical works.”
The MCSK awards was a branch of the MCSK formed to recognize and reward musicians who participate. Also known as MAMTAG, it stands for MCSK Annual Music Talent Awards Gala. Artists nominate the songs that they feel fans respond to and wait for the public to choose who they like best.
For every category in the gala, it has a different price tag attached to it. Regional and overall general winners are awarded amounts between 200,000- 300,000 Kenyan shillings. For those who fall under the category of producers, Djs’, media and dance groups fetch themselves an estimated 100,000 Kenyan shillings.
Members protected under the MCSK get to receive health insurance covers. These covers feature unlimited in- patient covers and Kes 200,000 limit for outpatient. The gala has been graced by important political figures in the country like the former Prime Minister, Hon. Raila Oginga Odinga.
The annual gala recognizes local artists who are making big strides within the industry. Some of our artists that have been recognized in these events include jaguar, Eunice Njeri, Alice Kamande, Ringtone, Marion Shako, Sara Kiarie, Nonini, Nameless, Avril, just to mention few. The awards are not limited to secular artists, the event has also recognised the movers and shakers in the gospel industry.
Although the MCSK has had issues with artists recently over allocation of royalties. The continue to do their best. Their recent scandal has however dampened the artist’s perception of the institution. The scandal became big enough to turn into a court issue, when the petition to renew their silence was revoked.
The annual gala has been missing in action in the last few years. Reasons pertaining to this have not been clarified by the institution. We would like to see this platform come back into action. Kenyans need to support and recognise their artists, without platform like this, the public is at a loss. The MCSK should strive to put scrupulous people to run the institution to avoid being labelled fraudsters