Almost 38 million shillings has been distributed to artistes for the six-month period ending December 31, but it seems little of it is going to Gengetone artistes even though, some were registered as members.
All week, Mike Richard Andrew has been seething in his office on Ngong Road.
The Director at both A.I Music Publishing and A.I Records Kenya Limited, the imprint that manages one of Gengetone’s biggest stars, Ethic, has been calling the Pulse desk since Friday when he read a feature on the distribution of royalties, and how Gengetone artistes, 2019’s biggest revelation and showstoppers, are not on the top 20 on the earners’ list.
We finally spoke to him.
“Ethic is registered to MCSK. That’s part of what we did as a recording, publishing, and distribution music company; to register the boys,” says Andrew, proudly.
Andrew’s bone of contention is with a quote from Milka Kulati. The MCSK CEO was explaining that Gengetone artistes were not included in the royalties report since “they are not registered as members”.
On Monday this week, A.I Music Publishing sent a protest letter to the MCSK offices, attaching registration documents that confirmed Ethic is registered with the society.
While we did not see the details of the protest letter, A.I Music Publishing furnished Pulse with information, including dates, when Ethic’s music was transferred and sent to MCSK in WeTransfer files.
Nine songs (Figa, Instagram, Pandana, Saba, Lamba Lolo, Position, Chapa Chapa, Thao and Tarimbo) were transferred between July 30 and November 14, last year.
“The transfers were then followed up further by our Ms Judy Mwangi, Manager, A.I. Music Publishing Ltd, who took the physical products, -MP3 recordings to MCSK and double-checked with their License Officer, Mr Dennis Maina, which the songs were definitely on their systems” an email from Andrew reads.
According to Andrews, there is enough paper trail and documentation to prove MCSK is not being truthful in the matter.
By yesterday, MSCK had not responded to A.I Music Publishing.
“We are eagerly awaiting their reasons for the omission,” Andrew says.
Pulse tried to call Milka, and left a text message regarding the matter, and by the time of going to press, MCSK had not gotten back.
So, has Ethic, comprising of Rekles, Swat, Seska and Zilla with hits like Pandana, Instagram, Tarimbo and Lamba Lolo received any money from MCSK yet, we ask?
“None! Zero! There is some maneno here,” he says.
“Ethic had some of the biggest songs in the country in 2019, with YouTube viewership that exceeded over 25,000. Actually, all the Gengetone artistes did well in 2019!”
Ochungulo’s David Benzema was quoted saying that artistes who make up the group had not seen sense to register with MCSK because of the society’s infamy.
“Sisi manze hatujawai make effort ya ku-register as MCSK members, juu tuliona hai-pay (We have never made the effort to register as members because it didn’t pay), and there is no need for us to focus and put our effort and concentration on it.”
According to Mike, those comments are not an accurate representation of all the Gengetone groups.
When we reached out for comment, Mwalimu Rachel, who manages Sailors, one of the biggest breakout acts of 2019, refused to comment saying that she did not want to give a statement to Pulse.
According to MCSK, Sh37.5 million was sent to members, divided between airplay and general distribution to members. The top ten list has Sauti Sol, Nyashinski, Christina Shusho, Mercy Masika, Eunice Njeri, Bahati, Gloria Muliro, King Kaka, Les Wanyika and Otile Brown in the top ten, with Octopizzo, Daddy Owen, Willy Paul, Ringtone, Khaligraph Jones, Susumila, Jua Cali, Collo and Sarah Kay.
“People are looking at the Gengetone artistes and where they are coming from and taking advantage of their ignorance,” says Andrew.
“What these people don’t know is that some (artistes) are managed by established outfits who know how things work. We can’t be taking advantage of these talented and hardworking young men and women…”