By Mowgli Dodhia
Every year, musicians and performing artistes protest against organisations that
collect royalties due to the ridiculously low payments they receive. The average
payment of Sh1,215 to artistes is laughable. This is despite the huge revenues
collected from media houses, call-back-tone service providers and other licensed
users of their copyrighted work.
The magnitude of the problem that has for years affected the creative industry was
brought to the fore during this year’s annual World IP day in April. Speaking during
the event, Partners Against Piracy interim Convener & MyMovies. Africa™ Co-
Founder, Mike Strano said piracy in Kenya costs the industry over Sh92 billion per
year. This is through pirated music, cinemas, television content, books, magazines
and newspapers and gaming. He also revealed that the government loses over Sh17
billion in taxes annually.
But these are problems that Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) marketplaces can solve.
Through NFTs, there is hope for artists and creatives to regain their autonomy and
earn what they deserve from their creative works. NFT marketplaces provide a
concrete route to supplement artiste’s income.
NFTs provide a legitimate built-in record of ownership that can travel beyond the first
sale, which allows artistes to continuously generate royalties that provide a
percentage of revenue to the original artist on subsequent sales of their work.
NFT’s, for example, create routes for musicians that give them control over their
work for which they normally have to sign over ownership rights in deals they make
with record labels. Photographers, painters, sculptors etc., can sell their authentic
work directly to consumers without the need of a middleman.
In addition, digital artists face issues involving their work in an increasingly tech-
driven world. Most of their work is re-published with no credits where royalties would
be rightfully due. NFT marketplaces are consumer oriented, and Kasuku NFT users
will be able to receive 97.5 percent of all sales revenue with the platform only taking
a 2.5 percent cut.
While digital art constitutes the biggest chunk of the NFT market, the nature of the
technology provides limitless experimentation in what an NFT can represent.
Creatives will have an opportunity to benefit from blockchain-based proof of
ownership and authenticity.
Because blockchain, on which NFT’s run, is a publicly accessible and immutable
digital ledger, it provides visibility of the entire transfer history of a specific NFT. We
can see who created the NFT and who purchased it. We can also see the people
who have owned it and for how long. Furthermore, we can see the value at which the
transaction occurred, and this creates a transparent marketplace in terms of
ownership and value.
The NFT marketplace has revitalised digital ownership which continues to grow
exponentially. Government regulation continues to flounder at the expense of artists
who are only nominally protected as recent developments in the last few years have
shown. There is an opportunity for creatives to be proactive and take advantage of
The writer is the CEO and co-founder, Kasuku NFT