There are mixed reactions after Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) awarded royalties of less than MK10,000 each to artists Gwamba and Martse.
The breakdown of the recent royalties known thus far has seen Gwamba getting MK8,100 accumulated this year 2016 whereas Martse’s is at K5,300 for 2015 and 2016 ( 2015: K4,200 and this year K1,200)
Gwamba was first to share the news in a sarcastic way, calling on his close to friends to escort him to the bank.
“Monday tivaye Ku bank tikaime pa mzere tizapange cash cheque cha K8,100 ya ma royalties yomwe anandipatsa a COSOMA kenaka tikagule lunch pa KFC. Guys mukuona bwa? (On Monday we should go to the bank, queue on the line, cash the royalties from COSOMA and then buy lunch at KFC),” wrote the artist.
The Christian artist has won various awards and has an impressive discography backed by a huge royal fan base. Economically the Better artist is known to be rich and educated.
He is Ambassador for UNFPA, and CEO of Better energy drink as well as being an in-law to Prophet Shepherd Bushiri.
For someone who sponsors a league worth MK1 million in Area 18, the amount of MK8,100 is indeed small change. On his part, Martse expressed sadness over the amount he has accrued.
“COSOMA just called. Kuphatikiza za last year ndi za this year zakwana 5 thousand Malawi kwacha. Ndazimvera chisoni (Royalties for this year and last year are adding up to K5000. I pity myself),” wrote Martse.
The Mwano artist is CEO of Freshman’s/Hype entertainment and he owns a clothing line called Ghetto Ghatta.
Martse is also a recipient of several music awards and is popular among listeners for hit songs. Meanwhile, social media has been discussing the royalties though the general consensus is that the urban artist deserved more.
Ben Sam of BenSam Entertainment blamed COSOMA for the peanuts the artist are getting.
“I feel they deserve better, I feel COSOMA looks down on the urban music industry. They don’t know that urban music is the new local music,” he said.
Others are of the view the whole machinery need to be scrutinized altogether. Kabol Lombwe, manager for Nepman is a moderate. But he brings up an important viewpoint. Free downloads is where the money leak is.
“News coming out of COSOMA is disturbing but I just did my maths and understood one thing, much of what people are listening to comes out of the internet and we give it out for free and this is not part of the royalties program komabe ma K2000 , K3000 ndi ma k10000 wa ndi chipongwe kulibwino mukanakangowapasa akazanu,” he said.
In 2009 local artist Lawrence Mbenjere set the record after he was awarded over 2.5 million kwacha in royalties.
It remains the highest payout on the local scene. COSOMA which was established in 1992 under section 41 of the Malawi Copyright Act of 1989 is there to promote and protect creativity.
The body protects interests of authors, performers, translators, producers of sound recordings, broadcasters, publishers and in particular to collect and distribute any royalties or other remuneration accruing to them in respect of their rights provided for in the Copyright Act of 1989.