Malawi musicians getting poor amounts for caller tunes


Some musicians in the country, who signed an agreement with Lilongwe-based local multimedia company – Nyimbo Music Company for Airtel Caller Tunes have received poor amounts for the period November 2011 to December 2012.

The development comes barely three months after musicians questioned the caller tune projects during the Annual General Meeting in Balaka where some musicians revealed that they were not benefiting much from caller tunes and that they never gave a consent to their songs.

But last week, Nyimbo Music Company announced the first pay-out generated on Airtel’s caller-tunes platform to local musicians who signed the release contract with the company.

The company generated K5,225,740 from which Skeffa Chimoto generated over a K2 million revenue. But after several deductions including tax, Skeffa received slightly over K130,000.

Some of the other artists who signed the agreement include Sally Nyundo, Symon and Kendall, Lucius Banda, Great Angels, Patience Namadingo, Lloyd Phiri, Sonye, Dan Lufani, Fikisa, Young Kay and Kelvin Shema.

The amount of over K5 million is contrary to speculations which have been going around lately spread by some musicians that Nyimbo Music Company pocketed K24 million.

The press release said the pay-out covers a period of November 2011 to September 2012 for the music which was sold on the Airtel caller-tunes platform.

In the statement, Nyimbo Music Company says that it was licensed by Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) to work in the area of mobile content aggregation, among the many licenses that the company holds.

The company is contracted to provide content for use on the platform and that the contract was entered into in November, 2011 between Nyimbo and onMobile, a third party provider of the platform on the Airtel network.

“A total of 12 artists did give Nyimbo the consent and it is these artists whose moneys have been released to Nyimbo by the provider. The rest of the artists have to sign the consent document from Nyimbo for them to access their money they have generated on the Airtel network,” reads the statement.

Ny imb o a dmi t t e d t h a t the amounts being given to the musicians were pathetic and noted that artists have earned low amounts due to a number of reasons citing, among others, lack of ownership of the channel by artists.

“Most artists do not take the caller tune channel as a serious money earner for them due to the problems that have been surrounding the caller tunes program from the onset. Artists do not know exactly how money is split and who gets what portion,” says Nyimbo’s chief executive officer Daud Suleman.

The press release also said low percentages split to artists.

“The percentage sharing model of the caller tunes model on Airtel leaves a little chunk of money to be split between tax, third parties and artists. A total of 70 percent of the amount is taken by Airtel while the remaining 30 percent has to be split between four different players including the artists. This results in a small percentage being paid to the artist,” says the statement.

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