The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the voice of the recording industry worldwide representing over 8,000 record company members across the globe, through its Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Office in Nairobi Kenya is hosting the inaugural Annual Conference for Neighbouring Rights Music Licensing Companies (Collective Management Organizations dealing with producers of sound recordings), National Recording Groups (the trade bodies for record producers) and Record Labels in Nairobi.
The event is meant to nurture business relations between MLCs, and record labels, create a platform for sharing of information, promote industry good practices in the Sub-Saharan African region and continue the dialogue between IFPI, MLCs and companies.
Key speaker at the event Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Director General Edward Sigei said the government was working on policy to ensure that CMOs benefit from increased revenue from airing of recorded works including through a revenue share plan with the media.
The government is exploring legal means to ensure all its agencies including the Communications Authority of Kenya, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) among others can facilitate the collection of royalties. Furthermore, it will work with County Governments to ensure businesses pay royalties during the licensing process. In addition, the new comprehensive Tariffs will be published in the Kenya Gazette in due course.
The draft Copyright Bill to replace the current one will be released by May 2023 for public participation and input by all relevant stakeholders. The review will also re-consider if the current structure of the private sector, government-regulated collective management is still fit for purpose as well as opportunities offered by automation in the collection and payment of royalties, and reduction of costly administrative infrastructure replete with opaqueness, leakage, and fraud.
Chief Executive Officer Frances Moore termed the conference as timely at a period Africa is continually cementing its place in the global music space saying the continents new genre are adding dynamism and new culture in the industry.
This forum provides an opportunity for stakeholders in this sector to foster strong relationships and synergy among the African nations. It is also an important opportunity to identify challenges and come back with solutions that will ensure our industry continues to prosper.
The conference will see related rights CMOs, record companies and national groups from the Sub-Saharan Africa region discuss industry issues, particularly, the challenges, gaps and opportunities in the collective management of related rights.
IFPI Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Director Angela Ndambuki Commented:
Since the establishment of the SSA office, we have worked with CMOs in key territories including: Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, and Tanzania to grow the neighbouring rights collective management business primarily for the benefit of right holders, both record companies and self-released artists.
The meeting will explore means of realizing the potential of the broadcast and public performance market in the region, and through sharing best practice we will identify ways of addressing the existing gaps insofar as concerns sound recording tariffs, compliance, and regulatory environment for CMO operations.
IFPI says it hopes the meet will explore the potential of the market in so far as licensing broadcasters and public performance users of music is concerned, addressing the challenge of establishing value-based tariffs that align with best practice, and addressing the regulatory environment to ensure the record producer CMOs can effectively and efficiently collect and distribute royalties to the right holders.
“Sadly, whilst we celebrate the growth in the digital environment, music theft remains a big challenge in the region. In Kenya, from June 2020 to June 2021, there were 50.7m visits to piracy sites. From June 2021 to June 2022, this number increased to 59.2m visits. In Nigeria, from January to May 2021, there were 65.5m visits to piracy sites. Over the same period in 2022, this number decreased to 54.3m visits. It is essential as we combat this threat to our industry that Sub-Saharan African countries prioritise the ratification of the WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty (WPPT) which enhances protection of sound recordings in the digital environment,” says Sony Music Ent. Managing Director Sean Watson.
The conference also saw the signing of MoUs between CMOs from Kenya (KAMP), South Africa (SAMPRA) and Barbados (COSCAP).