Ever since its formation a few years back, Copyrights Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) have received criticism as a collective society from both the artists, arts practitioners and the industry at large.
This led to a feud of the organisation’s Management that saw some of the artists ‘boycotting’ the society, questioning its mandate and the criteria used to calculate royalties, some criticising it for bringing the industry into discrepancies. However this week WeekendLife Editor, DAVE BAAITSE unravels a new digital technology that aims to solve the mystery that continues to mask the arts industry.
The new platform known as StreamBW is a robust online platform that avails the opportunity where artists can store, tag, playlist, share and market their music assets to prospective buyers. Developed by a local young social entrepreneur and music artist, Kebaswele Kebaswele, the platform does not limit anyone; it will even extend to young upcoming artists who found it very hard to breakthrough. According to Kebaswele, they found it befitting to come up with the concept because of the unfairness and opaque that surrounds the distribution of royalties.
Kebaswele said, in the next two months, they will be running the trial of the concept before registering artists. Asked about the involvement of COSBOTS, he said they have thoroughly engaged with COSBOTS as they are the main collective society and they have agreed on common grounds on the new initiative which they deem to be beneficial to all. “We have agreed with them, some artists will sign directly with us and others will sign with them, it will depend with artists”, said Kebaswele in an interview this week.
He brought to light the fact that the new concept will use the Universal Streaming formula in terms of the rates for royalties. Artists will subscribe for a small fee for a period of twelve months and they will pay as little as 9% of their royalties when they are registered directly with them, a percentage that will be slightly less than what COSBOTS is currently charging artists.
Kebaswele said they have also engaged Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) who also gave thumps up to their concept. They are currently working with them to develop a legal framework that will enhance a smooth sale of the new digital platform. “Our marketplace provides music buyers with intuitive search and discovery tools as well as thematically and topically- curated playlists, allowing them to find and license the music they need quickly and painlessly. Additionally, our system facilitates easy administrative clearances by providing disparate, interested parties, such as writers, publishers and producers with a means by which to connect their fractional ownership shares and thus make the content available for licensing”, he said.
Kebaswele said they are committed to maintaining transparency with their music providers and clients. He is of the view that their right holders maintain complete control over pricing and choose to make their music available for automated transactions or elect to only accept offers from potential buyers.
“Music buyers, such as brands, creative agencies, music supervisors, filmmakers, and advertisers now benefit from having access to an incredible selection of music that has been designed with their uses in mind. Music that can be discovered, licensed or purchased, easily and efficiently”, he narrated. According to Kebaswele there is too much transparency in regard to this online platform.
“This thing is self calculated and each and every artists can calculate for themselves how much they made per month but the royalties will be paid annually, there will be no cheating”, he said. He also revealed to this publication that in terms of music they will be staging StreamBW online musical awards annually. The awards will be based among other things the most downloaded song and the most streamed song or artist. Artists will have the opportunity to direct their fans to the stream using social media when they inquire about their songs.
The past week saw what detractors labelled social media piracy when Charma Gal’s new song which is believed to have leaked before its mastering and mixing was shared across all the platforms in social media, especially on WhatsApp. Kebaswele said this was an opportunity from a big artist like Charma Gal to have made more money and benefiting from the platform.
“After her last offer which took the industry by storm, it is evident that her fans have been waiting in anticipation for her new release, that is why the ‘demo song’ went viral and that was an opportunity”. He also said this platform will act as a music hub or data bank for local content more especially music. Right now when you want old music from legendary artists such as Stigga Sola or Stampore to just mention a few, you hardly get them or find nothing on the internet.
“Hollywood Productions come to Botswana to shoot movies but they hardly use our own music because there is nowhere they can find it, this is simply because it is not available online and only a few modernised have subscribed to iTunes”, he said. Amid in- brawls that continue to besiege COSBOTS, this week the industry woke up to the shocking revelations that founding chairman, Solomon Monyame, has resigned under uncertain and unclear circumstances.
Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) is one organisation that was heard voicing out their grievances pertaining the concerns of the association and its dealings. However COSBOTS remains the only body that exists to protect the copyrights and paying royalties to registered copyright holders in the country.
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.
The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.
Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.
Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)
Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.
“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”
For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”
“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.
Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.
“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.
When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.