Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua has chided Kenyans for unsubscribing from boy band Sauti Sol’s YouTube channel.
As of Wednesday, the four-member band had lost at least 2,000 subscribers following a spat with Raila Odinga’s Azimio over use of “Extravaganza” hit without their consent.
The coalition used the song as a soundtrack during the unveiling of its presidential running mate Martha Karua on Monday.
Sauti Sol then threatened to sue the coalition party for copyright infringement.
On Thursday, Mutua who is nicknamed the moral cop, asked Kenyans to re-subscribe to the band’s channel, stating that they are “one of our greatest bands in Kenya’s history”.
He also noted that politics should never divide the people to the point of hate.
“Unsubscribing from @sautisol YouTube is a juvenile reaction. Rudini haraka. We may have differences but we must not be blinded by politics to the point of hate. Let’s deal with the issues at hand in a civil manner. Sauti Sol remains one of our greatest bands in Kenya’s history,” he tweeted.
Unsubscribing from @sautisol YouTube is a juvenile reaction. Rudini haraka. We may have differences but we must not be blinded by politics to the point of hate. Let's deal with the issues at hand in a civil manner. Sauti Sol remains one of our greatest bands in Kenya's history.
— Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, MBS (@EzekielMutua) May 19, 2022
Mutua on Tuesday issued a statement contradicting that of Kenya Copyrights Board (Kecobo) which had sided with Sauti Sol.
Kecobo had noted that indeed Azimio was in the wrong for using the band’s music and should have paid them.
“Collective Management Organizations generally issue a license authorizing entities to use the sound recordings for public performance. It is public domain that Azimio has obtained a public performance license allowing it to play both local and international music at its rallies and events,” Kecobo executive director Edward Sigei said.
“However the use of sound recording as soundtrack with visual images in a film, video, television show, commercial or other audio-visual production is not part of those uses authorised by a public performance license. A synchronization license can only be issued by the composer and publisher. They have the authority to negotiate and issue a synchronization license.”
But according to Mutua, Kecobo’s statement was misleading since Sauti Sol as members of MCSK signed their rights to the society to administer copyright on their behalf.
“This is a totally misleading and misguided statement by Kecobo. We licensed the Raila Odinga Presidential campaign using the existing tariffs gazetted by the Govt. Our members, including Sauti Sol, have assigned their rights to MCSK to administer copyright on their behalf,” said the former Kenya Film Classification Board CEO.
Lead vocalist Bien-Aime Barasa, on Wednesday, on learning that they had lost some 2,000 subscribers said, “Time will reveal. Wale wanashuka washuke saa hii. Stage yao imefika.”