Royalties for Lesotho artists

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History was made in the arts and entertainment industry with the epoch-making inauguration of the Lesotho Copyright Board Society of Authors and Artists (LESCOSAA) last week, which will among others guarantee local artists receive royalties for their work.

Local artists have for decades struggled to make a living from their talent and creative works, and the long overdue LESCOSSA is indeed a much welcome relief.

Many bright talents couldn’t stand the heat that came with spending on making music only to have nothing in return. Many decided to call it a day while others died poor. A smaller portion has over the years managed to break into the South African market which is of course a greener pasture in terms of making a living of creative works.

The likes of Famo veterans, Lephoi Mohale aka Mantša, Puseletso Seema and Mohlomi ‘Apollo’ Ntabanyane, are some of the artists who managed to register with South African royalty collecting society, Southern African Music Rights Organization (SAMRO) and are getting their earnings whenever their music is played on South Africanradio stations where they have also proved to have a massive followership.

The minister of tourism, environment and culture, Joang Molapo, explained that the board is established under the 31-year old Order 4 of 1989.  

Molapo urged LESCOSAA to go all out to “show artists the money”. By effectively collecting royalties for use of their creative works, he said, not only the artist will benefit but the country’s economy as well.

He challenged the board to collect at least M3million by 2021. One of the potential challenges, he said, is that local radio stations and television channels play international content more than they do local content. As a solution to this, he said, he has communicated with the minister of communications, science and technology who will make an announcement on what percentage of local music should be played on local radio stations starting from March 1.

For his part, Mantṧa advised the government to also ensure local artists are more recognized and respected in their homeland than foreigners.

“We have fought for days like this for so long and I thank you Mr Molapo for coming through for our artists. It is an honour to be part of this momentous occasion,” Mantṧa said.

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