Govt Unveils System to Track Kenyan Musicians' Millions

Silhouttes of revellers at a concert.
Silhouttes of revellers at a concert.

The government has announced a new system through which musicians and all artists will register and track their royalties from their works.

Through the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and the Collective Management Organisations (CMOs), the government will depend on an ICT system for registration of copyright, licensing of music use, royalty management and media monitoring.

The new portal will look to stem on issues of lack of royalties to artists that have dodged the entertainment industry.

"The National Right Registry module or the registration portal to the database is accessible at," KECOBO stated in a notice on March 9, 2021.

The National Rights Registry (NRR) and the CMOs Digital licensing & Royalty management portals are up and running.
The National Rights Registry (NRR) and the CMOs Digital licensing & Royalty management portals are up and running.

Under the new portal, artists can undertake online copyright registration including uploading their works; view and manage all their registered copyright works; make payment against the application where applicable and receive and print their copyright registration certificates virtually.

The system already has over 11,000 works that have been registered since its launch, with the licensing body waiving payment of registration fee temporarily.

The portal enables users to register new works and check the status of previously registered works. All works previously registered by Kenya Copyright Board shall appear in the NRR dashboard.

Owners of previously registered works may be required to supply additional details in line with the new registration format.

Any person can search for an artist's works by title or name among other search criteria. One can also file complaints about exclusion or unwarranted registration by other applicants.

The digital royalty collection system was jointly developed by the three societies namely Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) which intended to better account for royalties collected, distributed, or expended by the societies is working.

The digital payment platform is accessible either through the web portal or via USSD Code *553#.

The self-licensing system is linked to the relevant tariffs as well as the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Business Registration Services (BRS), and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) databases for ease of transaction.

The system allows payments by institutional cheque, bank transfer (Pesalink, EFT and Mpesa. All payments are deposited into an authorized joint CMO account.)

A media monitoring system that monitors the plays of music in various radio media to help in scientific payment of royalties to creatives who are members of the CMOs is the third module. All music uploaded on the National Rights Registry is automatically monitored.

To access copyright registration services, an artist or corporates are required to create either corporate or individual accounts in the National Rights Registry portal.

The registration portal to the copyright database
The registration portal to the copyright database