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Musicians urged to register with LeMRA

Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Lesotho Music Rights Association (LeMRA) president, Sechaba “Sir Schaba” Mokoqo, has urged local musicians to register with the association to ensure they get royalties when the collection board gets into full operation next year.

Sechaba said this in an interview with the Xpress People on Friday.

He said only registered artistes will access royalties collected by the Copyright Management Organisation (CMO) on behalf of LeMRA.

“LeMRA represents all stakeholders in the production of music including the composers and singers and we ensure the protection of the creative work of our members,” Sir Schaba said.

“LeMRA is under CMO which has already elected board members. We are now waiting for the board to be gazetted and we hope to have appointed the chief executive officer by December this year. This means that collection of royalties will commence early next year.”

Most local artistes have previously been registered with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) and Sir Schaba said they now need to register with LeMRA.

“Local artistes who are registered with SAMRO should understand that they need to register here at home for CMO will get into a bilateral contract with SAMRO to collect on their behalf. We will also reciprocate that for South African artistes. SAMRO cannot come to Lesotho to collect on behalf of local musicians so all local artistes need to register with LeMRA,” he said.

Formed early last year, CMO specialises in the copyrights administration for different artistes under it. It serves as an important link between content creators (artistes) and end users (broadcasters).

The CMO board is made up of nine members which include a representative from the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (MTEC) and one from the Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs. The other seven members are from organisations under MTEC which include LeMRA, Motion Pictures Association of Lesotho (MPALe), Association of Publishers, Authors Association, Sesotho Academy and Theatre Association of Lesotho among others.

However, Sir Schaba said he was pleased with the recent response of young musicians who have shown keen interest in registering with the association following a recent social media campaign.

“Many artistes thought they were safe and they registered with SAMRO so we embarked onto a social media campaign on all social media platforms to explain the importance of registering with LeMRA.

“I am glad to say now there is an understanding especially from the younger artistes. Although we have not yet collated the figures, last week alone we had 20 artistes registering from Mafeteng and Leribe. This is not for artistes based in Maseru only but the country as a whole,” Sir Schaba said.

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