Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) says taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has started paying the K153 million it owes the artists in royalties.
The State broadcaster has so far paid K18 million to Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) as part of the royalties that have been accumulating since 2016.
MUM acting president Gloria Manong’a confirmed the development saying royalties are one of the benefits that musicians enjoy for having their creations played on different radio stations.
“MBC has commenced fulfilling its obligation as per agreements made during the recent meeting we had in Blantyre on the unpaid outstanding royalties that they owe us musicians through Cosoma.
“This month of June, MBC has remitted a percentage of what is owed to us.
“When other members and I went to MBC, we collected a cheque of K10 million but a few days prior to that meeting, Cosoma had collected another cheque worth K8 million,” said Manong’a adding that they believe all outstanding royalties will have been paid by December as per agreement.
In a separate interview, Cosoma senior licensing officer Rosario Kamanga in a separate interview said the royalties will be disbursed proportional to artists’ work.
“Distribution rules which we use will be followed based on how the works have been used. Again, royalty payments are made per year which means we have to distribute the money based on how works were used in that particular year,” he said.
Kamanga added that most private radio stations honour their responsibility of paying royalties to the copyright body.
The recent meeting followed an ultimatum that MUM, on behalf of its members, gave MBC to pay the outstanding royalties or risk being sued. n