By Alfred Byenkya
Uganda National Musicians Federation (UNMF) president Eddy Kenzo has said amending the copyright law to enable artistes earn money without staging shows is the reason why he accepted to join the federation.
In an interview with Urban Television on Friday, May 26, Kenzo said many Kadongo Kamu singers are poor now because of the absence of the copyright law that would have enabled them get money from their music.
“It hurts me to see artistes like Abdu Mulaasi, Lord Fred Ssebatta, Chance Nalubega, Hassan Nduga and other veteran singers complaining of poverty yet they have songs that would have been their source of income,” he said.
The Weekend singer blamed promoters for exploiting the aforementioned veteran artistes, inadvertently leading to the poverty in which they have found themselves.
“These local music promoters used to go to the bond, get a car on loan and would give them to artistes in exchange for 30 free shows. By the time the 30 shows are over in, like, two years’ time, the cars are old and in the end, the promoters would make over sh200m for such dubious deals,” he revealed.
Kenzo said it’s such scenarios and bad experiences that have forced artistes to unite and work for a common goal using the federation.
“We are not here because we are beggars or people with other political motives. We are in the federation to fight for the creation and enforcement of a new copyright law which will include the formula and strategy on how artistes can earn money from digital platforms,” he said.
Kenzo said the old copyright law was made in the analogue times and it’s the reason why artistes need a new law to enable them negotiate a good share from platforms like telecom caller tunes and other revenue streams.
“The current share an artiste gets from caller tunes is very low. It’s telecom companies that get a big share of around 30%,then URA takes like 50% and the aggregator gets 20% which they share with artistes,” he revealed.
Kenzo also called upon artistes to register with the Uganda Performing Rights Society because they will be working together to serve interests of all artistes.
Singer/politician Bobi Wine had on May 22, 2023 stated that UNMF was a sham federation. He (Bobi Wine), while addressing youth at a youth convention at the National Unity Platform offices in Kavulu, Kampala on Monday, May 22, described UNMF as a collection of money-hungry individuals hell-bent on getting free money.
“That federation largely comprises people who are united by their quest to obtain money from the Government,” Bobi Wine revealed.