Pay us or you’ll be fined, musicians to consumers

Senderi International Hit. (Courtesy photos)

Musicians Eric Senderi, aka Senderi International Hit, Dieudonne Munyanshoza, Jean de Dieu Tuyisenge and Sgt Major Robert Kabera have publicly unveiled the tariffs for anybody who will need to play their songs.

 The move comes days after the law on intellectual property was published in the official gazette No. 39 of September 24, 2018, giving local artistes hope of earning from their intellectual property.

 The quartet, who say they are dedicated to doing music that contributes to the civic education of Rwandans in one way or another, decided to make the tariffs known to the public as a warning to those who play their songs without their consent.

 “It’s been 20 years of our music being exploited by other people for their own interest, not ours. But as artistes who have the same mission, we think this is time to stand up and fight for our benefit.”

 Sgt Robert Kabera.

“The tariffs are not aimed at disappointing people and our fans but it is us saying that our rights and benefits from our intellectual property should be respected, because our lives depend on it,” said Senderi.

 The artistes said they decided to announce the tariffs to discourage people who use their music without consulting them. They hope more artistes will soon join the initiative.

 “We wanted many artistes to join us in this initiative but since there are so many who do not understand it yet, we decided to kick-start the process other than sitting back, and watch as people make money from our compositions without paying us anything. We believe more artistes will join us,” said Tuyisenge.


 The tariffs vary depending on who is playing the song, the type of function at which the song is played, and the duration the song is played.

 That is why some tariffs were set for individuals or institutions who wish to use the artistes’ songs in their events without having the artistes on stage for live performance. For live performances, they will be dealing directly with event organisers, they said.

 There are also tariffs for music retailers. All the payments can be paid either on a daily basis or annually, depending on the contract.

 For instance, for local government institutions, from village to the district level, each of the artistes will be looking to bag some Rwf50, 000 whenever their songs are played during events or Rwf1, 000, 000 to play their songs in a period of one year.

 On the other hand, private sector, provinces, the City of Kigali and other government institutions as well as diaspora will need to pay any of the artistes Rwf200, 000 to play their songs in a single event, or Rwf2 million annually.

 Elsewhere, disc burners who sell each of these artistes’ songs will be charged Rwf50 per day, or Rwf15, 000 a year.

 “It is not that a much for someone who wants to use our music, considering how much work and investment we put in.

 “This can be a motivation for us to do even better and more quality music. Our talent is our wealth and the way people value their properties should be the same way they do for our intellectual property. Otherwise the law will take its course,” said Tuyisenge.

Jean de Dieu Tuyisenge 

Heavy fines await offenders. Article 262 of the penal code on fraudulent use of an author’s name or distinctive sign on work,as amended in new law on the protection of intellectual property, states that any person, who fraudulently uses an author’s name or distinctive sign on a literary, artistic or scientific work, commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to a fine of not less than seven million Rwandan francs (Rwf7, 000,000), but not more than ten million Rwandan francs (Rwf10, 000,000).”

“I have been doing music for 24 years with mission not only to positively change the society and contribute to the country’s development but also to improve my quality life.

 “Sometimes we produce songs and hear them being played in different events around the country, free of charge. For instance, I have never uploaded my songs on Youtube, but it is a pity to see them on people’s channels,” said Munyanshoza.

The musicians promised to be rewarding 20 per cent of the amount to anyone who will report the offenders.