Yarona fm has signed an agreement to comply with the regulations of the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS). This means artists will get royalties for musical content that will be played on the radio station.
Owen Rampha, Yarona fm’s Station Manager, says that they had always been aware of the need for royalties to be paid to artists. He said royalties are crucial for the artists’ survival and also help to stimulate creative industries by being an avenue for their income generation.
“Yarona will continue to support all endeavours that can contribute towards the welfare of local artists. Coming to an agreement with COSBOTS demonstrates our commitment to investing in our industry” Rampha said.
COSBOTS Chief Executive Officer, Thato Mokobi, congratulated Yarona fm on “this major achievement”.
He said Yarona fm is now officially and effectively licensed and authorised through the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act CAP 68:02 to use copyrighted works for the duration of the license without fear or favour.
“Through being licensed, Yarona fm has taken a major step in facilitating the COSBOTS mandate of collection and distribution of royalties to owners of copyrighted works. This is significant in that most local artists have never received royalties for their work, having been used anytime or anywhere,” Mokobi said.
He said in line with Government policy, the radio station is now contributing to the diversification of the economy by supporting artists, who will now be in a position to supply improved and better quality products.
“It goes without saying that this also enhances and facilitates the enjoyment of Tswana music and culture,” he said.
Yarona fm’s Rampha dismissed worries that the introduction of royalties will result in favouritism, with some favoured artists being played more often than others.
“We use an automated playlist which selects music to be played on a particular day. It is completely water tight,” Rampha assured.
Local hip-hop artist, Jujuboy, says the introduction of royalties is a welcome development which has been long overdue.
“It is a standard practice everywhere and we as artists have long been calling for the Act,” he said.
Although he said he did not understand how the whole process of calculating royalties works, he applauded COSBOTS for doing a good job of educating local artists on the subject.
Another artist, Odirile Vee Sento, arguably the most successful local artist in terms of album sales, also welcomed the development saying it has been long overdue. He says, with royalties, he will still be able to make money without having to release an album or perform on stage.
Rampha said Yarona fm, the first privately-owned commercial broadcaster in the country, will continue to strive to deliver a quality, entertaining on-air product whilst honouring their responsibilities as a player in the media landscape of this country.