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Ideas for Developing a Music Data Policy for Kenya Music Industry

We need a Music & Creative Industry Data Policy Madaraka Day

Madaraka is a Kiswahili word meaning Authority. Madaraka Day is a Kenyan holiday commemorated on 1st June every year to commemorate the day Kenya achieved independence after being a British colony from the 1920’s. We submit that data is the new oil and true Madaraka for the creative industry will only come from the liberation of data through legislative prescriptions. We summarize our proposals below and seek your public support.

The other objective of the proposals is to propose measures to create a fair data economy by ensuring access to and use of creative industry data, including in music business-to-business and CMO business-to-government situations. The initiative would not alter data protection legislation and would seek to preserve incentives in entertainment business data.

problem statement & policy solutions

  1. Music Data equals Music Money. Music Data = Music Money. It’s that simple. Data helps determine key important ingredients in identifying and paying eligible artists and other music rights owners like publishers, performers, Actors, Authors, Producers, CMOs.
  2. The greatest challenge the Kenya music & acting industry faces is data. The current systems haven’t yielded what we consider as a serious data policy for the Kenya Music market. Former Kenya Copyright Board Chairman & Nation Media Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu has described the process as stone age. We are there for proposing development of a music data policy that will guide the process of registration of music with CMOs, monitoring usage, and matching royalty data from music users such as DSPs.
  3. We are calling for a national dialogue led by the critical Kenya Music stakeholders including Members of CMOs, CMOs, Publishers, Performers, writers (lyricists, composers, songwriters), Producers, Actors, Visual Artists, Digital Service Providers, KECOBO, Kenya Film Commission, Parliament.
  4. The objective of the national dialogue is to create a Kenya Quality Music Data Initiative (KQMDI) to provide a streamlined way for music publishers, administrators, self-administered songwriters, and foreign collective management organizations (CMOs) to compare large schedules of their musical works’ data against The Kenya Music data held by CMOs, DSPs, Government & any other critical stakeholders. Through the KQMDI, The Kenya digital CMO and MCKS, KAMP & PRISK will provide participants with reports that highlight the discrepancies between the two sets of data so that they can more easily address those discrepancies and improve the quality of The Kenyan CMO data.
  5. We believe that this is the only way to begin building a national database. Depending on political commitment and funding the program can be rolled out over a period of 12-24 months although we insist that the process of perfecting data will be a continuous one. The government in partnership with creative industry stakeholders will be put to task to facilitate development of a strategy that respects the music data systems of global music markets due to the international trade aspects of music rights of foreign artists. Under international law, Kenya cannot discriminate against foreign artists when setting up cultural industry policies. This process must be transparent and based on international best practices of managing entertainment data. The Data must be owned by the creative industry rights holders not unknown private interests.
  6. Having a kenya initiative to build a robust music database will help the country to attract investment into the music sector. If we have accurate data, it will be much easier to match use with royalty payment to eligible rights holders. Because music is a property just like a car or house music can be used to secure debt facilities from lenders. However, lenders will not lend to a market where music data systems are not transparent and accountable and verifiable. It makes a lot of sense to fix music data in Kenya.
  7. We will need to develop a framework to enable CMOs and their members to be on boarded into the initiative. The venture will also include working with software vendors to help them enhance their platforms to enable Kenyan users if their systems are to participate in the initiative. There should be an open call inviting various vendors to participate so that Kenya develops the most robust system.
  8. The Key objective of the KQMDI will be to fulfilling the mission of Kenyan Music & Creative Industry that songwriters, composers, lyricists, actors, and music publishers receive timely and accurate mechanical royalties from CMOs, streaming and download services (DSPs) in Kenya.
  9. The KQMDI program will be tasked with engaging quality partners to implement the program in the shortest timelines for the country.

initiative background & Genesis of proposals

A key responsibility of any music publisher or administrator is making sure that the Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) from which they receive royalties possess accurate and complete data regarding their musical works. This will continue to be the case for music publishers and administrators who anticipate receiving royalties from The Kenya Digital CMO that will be set up for music. This is one way that Kenyan music publishers and administrators can “Play Their Part” in helping The New Digital CMO fulfil its important mission of paying royalties accurately and expediently. Kenyans should  recognizes that checking the accuracy of the data held by a given CMO can be a time consuming and tedious process for music publishers and administrators. The Kenya Data Quality Initiative proposal is intended to help make this process efficient and more effective.

So how will The Kenya Data Quality Initiative (KDQI) help?

The Music Advocate Africa is proposing the Creation of The Kenya Data Quality Initiative (KDQI) to provide a streamlined way for music publishers, administrators, and foreign collective management organizations to compare large schedules of their musical works data against The Proposed Digital CMO data. The New Digital CMO will provide KDQI participants with reports that highlight only the discrepancies between the two sets of data so that participants can more easily identify and address those discrepancies. Anybody with music data will be invited to participate through a technology based Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution to be developed by Kenyans in collaboration with international music data partners.

In designing the KDQI, The Music Advocate Africa sought to propose the creation of a process that was:


The Music Advocate Africa Goal for Kenya Music here is to enable as many qualified participants as possible to take part in the KDQI. To that end: Kenya will have to partner with a number of music catalog and copyright management software companies to enable music publishers and administrators who use these type of platforms to participate in the KDQI. We shall participate in the process of identifying international music data Partners. For interested participants who have their own proprietary software systems, we propose that the Digital CMO will work directly with them to provide the file specifications they will need in order to take part in the KDQI.


The KDQI eliminates the need for participants to check each and every one of their work registrations manually. The comparison reports the digital CMO will provide highlight only works for which there are data discrepancies. This enables participants to focus their efforts on addressing those discrepancies rather than finding them.


Since the Digital CMO will generate its comparison reports using an automated process, participants can check their data as frequently as they would like. 


Participants can use the KDQI to check the accuracy of the data for all of the works that they own or administer as well as smaller selections of their works (or both). The KDQI enables participants to tailor their approach to fit their individual needs and priorities.


Participants create simple file(s) containing the works they want to compare with The Digital CMO data, using a file format provided by The Digital CMO. They then upload or email the files to The Digital CMO. Upon receipt, The Digital CMO will compare the data in those files with The Digital CMO’s data and then send back comparison reports highlighting errors and inconsistencies in the data. Participants can then use these reports to troubleshoot the cause of these issues and take the appropriate corrective action.

How Kenyans & other critical Stakeholders like CMOs WILL participate.

If you are music publisher, administrator or foreign CMO with your own proprietary technology or are using a third-party software system, you will be required to put in a request which we submit must be guided by law so that administrative process of the Kenyan Digital CMO are not arbitrary without prior knowledge and understanding. Under the current system, CMOs are non-responsive to their members needs especially on the issue of music & performance data in general. Even Actors are affected. Without data systems they can’t benefit from legal protection.  This is an important aspect that parliament must take into consideration. The only way to protect is to legislate into law.


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