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Government to pay royalties to artists

Lerato Matheka
MASERU — The government is working out a plan to pay royalties for local music played on Lesotho radio stations, according to Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.
He told the Xpress People on Friday that musicians could start receiving the royalties as early as next year.
“It has been a long time since the government planned to give local artists royalties for their music being played on local radio stations and come next year progress will be seen,” Metsing said.
He said it was critical for Lesotho to have a body like the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) which protects the intellectual property of composers and administers the distribution of royalties for musicians in the region.
Samro’s territory of operation embraces South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.
But local artists have never received royalties for their music played by local radio stations.
The Lesotho Music Rights Association (LMRA) has been trying to push for that but it appears it only represents a few of the local artists.
“South Africa has an organisation called Samro which deals with royalty sharing among artists,” Metsing said.
“We also want to have an equivalent organisation with a strong membership.
“We are trying to elevate the process from the years that it has been dragging on and we are going to need co-operation from all local artists.
“So we will be visiting the Lesotho Music Rights Association to check if they have many musicians registered with them.”
He added that the ministries of communication, law and constitutional affairs, and justice were scrutinising existing laws to enhance the protection of artists’ intellectual rights.
“Music protection involves a number of ministries and this time we have decided that instead of government officials handling the matter, ministers will be hands-on so that progress can be seen,” Metsing said.
LMRA public relations officer Ramosa Bosiu, in a separate interview, told Xpress People the association was trying hard to enlist as many local artists as possible.
“It was music to our ears when we heard that come next year we will be receiving royalties for our products played by local radio stations,” he said.

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