By Howard Mlozi (Nation Newspaper)

Malawian musicians will finally start benefiting from online downloads after Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) said it has intensified efforts to administer what it calls Mechanical Rights Remuneration Ringtones and Music Downloads (MRRRMD)—which is basically mechanical rights licensing in the digital domain.

What this means is that Cosoma will start collecting royalties on behalf of musicians for any music downloads or use of ringtones.

A sceen-grab of MalawiMusic.com’s Top 20 download chart
A sceen-grab of MalawiMusic.com’s Top 20
download chart

Cosoma says they have engaged Airtel, TNM and free online streaming service MalawiMusic.com to solicit data and collect royalties for downloads.

Most musicians are in the dark on how to benefit from their work when it is downloaded on online music platforms.

For example, music of some artists had attracted downloads in excess of 20 000 from which they have not benefited anything.

Bemoaned one of the upcoming musicians: “What we were told is that our music is uploaded on some of the streaming websites for promotion purposes. Yet what we know for sure is that a download cannot take place without buying airtime.”

But Cosoma says the mechanical rights remuneration will ensure that artists are paid what they deserve.

“We are leaving no stone unturned as far as collection of artists’ mechanical rights is concerned. The society is pleased to report that it has concluded licensing agreements with both Airtel and MalawiMusic.com. The former has already made available usage data spanning four years. An upfront payment of K1 million was also made,” said Cosoma senior licensing officer Rosario Kamanga.

The data, which Cosoma has collected from Airtel, means that music downloads administered on online music streaming services such as MalawiMusic.com, have been invoiced and the money will be paid to artists in royalties. According to Cosoma, discussions with TNM were at an advanced stage. n

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