Bizzle Osikoya, the Nigerian music executive, has explained why The Plug, the music publishing and distribution company, pulled out of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).
Osikoya spoke in Lagos on the sidelines of an industry discourse about best practices in music rights management.
Plug Music, which Osikoya co-founded, and the Performing Rights Society (PRS), which licenses the music of its signees/partners and collects royalties on their behalf globally, partnered to educate Nigerian songwriters in Lagos.
The event’s panel session also exposed industry stakeholders to the legal nuances of copyright management.
It touched on the intricacies of monetising music and understanding the formal aspects of its business operations.
Osikoya said The Plug opted out of COSON alongside some other music publishers after an audit showed that the music revenue collector wasn’t being transparent enough about the earnings of the artistes under its management.
“The problem with collecting societies in Nigeria is that their leaders think about themselves and their pockets alone. They’re not thinking about the creatives,” the music executive said.
“In countries like the UK and the US, collecting societies are more about the creatives. PRS in the UK constantly gives grants to their artistes and does music camps for their members. All those things don’t happen in Nigeria.
“We should start giving members incentives to make them feel happy to be part of the society.
“We opted out from COSON when it was not being truthful about the royalties paid to it.
“We were in a community with the Music Publishers Association of Nigeria. We all decided collectively to opt out because they were not being truthful about earnings when an audit was done.”
Osikoya co-founded The Plug as a talent management brand alongside Asa Asika, his industry colleague, in 2016.
The company has since branched into the music publishing and digital distribution ecosystem.
Osikoya told TheCable that Plug Music is working to initiate a partnership with the Music Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), an organisation that is now ousting COSON.
Collecting societies typically license and manage copyrighted works on behalf of the owners of such rights.
In music, songwriters and composers join collecting societies so that these organisations can collect revenue on their behalf at national, regional, cross-regional, or international levels depending on their sphere of influence.
This stunted the growth of the music rights management ecosystem as music users became confused about whom to pay license fees to.
The case ended in 2017 into 2018 with the approval of MCSN and COSON’s suspension respectively.
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