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Over 800 artists lineup for royalties

Publishing Date : 22 April, 2015

Author : TLOTLO RAYMOND KGAKATSI

COSBOTS makes third distribution of music royalties

The eagerly anticipated third distribution of royalties by the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS), gathered the largest ever congregation of musical artists in Botswana at Thapong Visual Arts Centre last Saturday.

Declaring a distribution of royalties for the third occasion, the COSBOTS Chairman, Mr. Solomon B. Monyame was firstly elated by the turnout of over one hundred and thirty artists, and that the message that COSBOTS has worked tirelessly to put out to artists is now gaining momentum as initially it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

He stated that this large turnout reflects the growth of COSBOTS as an organization, which now has in excess of eight hundred artists as full members hence the slight delay in the distribution due to the overwhelming number of works that needed to be verified so as to make correct payments to the correct artist.

The purpose of the workshop was to declare the third distribution of royalties by COSBOTS, having done the first in February 2014 and the second in September of the same year.

The workshop was also intended to educate music artists on the process and procedures involved in distributing royalties, and enable interaction on issues to create a better understanding and appreciation of this rather complex process.

Explaining the process at the distribution workshop, the Documentation and Distribution Manager, Mr. Ditiro Chaa, highlighted that the process of distribution is based on a number of factors being put in place to successfully reward artists for the public use of their creative works.

He stated that the money to undertake distributions is derived from license fees collected through the licensing of all persons or organizations that use musical works like radio and television stations, venues that facilitate live performances, clubs, retail outlets, hotels, restaurants and any other organization that plays music in public, irrespective of whether entrance fees are paid or not; (these collections are termed royalties).

The licensing process is followed by the submission of log sheets or playlists by music users from the respective licensed venue or broadcaster. The royalties, per the respective user/s, are then distributed pro-rata according to the playlist submitted by the specific user.

This process reflects why it is therefore mathematically impossible to derive a set fee per song played, (i.e. rate per song), because the amounts paid by users differs on the basis of the relevance of music to the business, and the playlists differ according to the preference of the user and their clientele.

In instances where playlists are not availed, for a variety of reasons, the Society is at liberty to distribute the royalties per the Radio Botswana playlists so as to benefit Batswana artists as the station plays the highest local content, and this is acceptable on the basis of applicable international standards for collective management organizations.  

In announcing the declaration for royalties to be distributed, COSBOTS stated that the total amount for the third distribution was P3.88 million, showing positive growth for collections compared to the previous distributions. The first-ever distribution of royalties had been declared at P1.9 million; whilst the second distribution was at P3.4 million.

Once the distribution process has been completed, royalties are credited to a member’s royalty account and money is paid to the member via electronic funds transfer, (EFT).

Artists participated constructively asking questions about the process and reflected their gratefulness to the good work COSBOTS had done to-date, and the realization that they too have a role to play in developing their industry through a display of professionalism. The event was graced by prominent as well as upcoming artists.


In closing the workshop, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Thato J. Mokobi stated that the organization requests cooperation and commitment from artists by informing COSBOTS when they are invited to perform at functions, which will help in licensing of the events and in collecting playlists to facilitate effective and accurate distribution of royalties collected for the respective events.

He also stressed the requirement for artists to continuously provide their changes in details, such as bank accounts, otherwise the royalties are returned and it becomes tedious and time consuming to identify and re-activate the transfers. This he mentioned will be key for COSBOTS to effectively deliver on its mandate: to collect and distribute royalties thereby empowering the creative industry.


There are over 800 artists on the COSBOTS database and they are all expected to claim a stake in the P3.88 million.


Tlotlo Raymond Kgakatsi is Communications Manager at Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS)

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