Nigeria: Telecom operators accused of zero remittance to musicians from sales, distribution, downloading, others

The Obi Casmir led-board of the Nigeria Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) has threatened to sue the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) for lack of revenue accountability.

Casmir told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday  that the step would be part of efforts  to address frequent reports of non-payment of accrued revenue to its members.

He said: “Nothing is remitted to our musicians from sales, distribution, exhibition, downloading, streaming and sharing of musical content by mobile telephone operators in Nigeria.

“As the trustees and the national working committee of PMAN, we have decided to take drastic and proactive legal action to restrain all ALTON members, their  agents, servants and privies operating in Nigeria from further sale, distribution, exhibition, downloading, streaming and sharing of musical content on their platform until proper revenue accountability and direct payment infrastructure are put in place across all online platforms.

“The measure is for the overall interest of our musicians bringing their talents to bear in the music scene with support from PMAN.

“The union will no longer fold its hands while ALTON and its agents continue to milk the music industry dry, leaving musicians in a state of poverty.”

According to the PMAN president, ALTON has deliberately failed and neglected to put in place a transparent revenue accounting and direct payment settlement structure in place.

“A transparent structure is required to guarantee return on investment for content owners and also guarantee sustainability  of the Nigerian music industry and, in particular, musicians who are being ripped off,” Casmir said.

Meanwhile, Mr Ademola Odetunde, PMAN Legal Adviser,  told NAN that that complaints by musicians necessitated the body to appoint Lafrique Promedia Ltd. as the body’s exclusive aggregator.

Odetunde said that Lafrique was saddled with responsibilities for the sale and distribution of musical content across all online and physical platforms in the overall interest of Nigerian musicians and music industry.

According to him, PMAN had earlier sought the collaboration and support of ALTON and its agents toward developing a robust revenue accountability in their services.

“The objective behind the initiative by PMAN to ALTON is for direct payment infrastructure for the sale and distribution of musical content across all online platforms operating in the country,” he told NAN.

Odetunde said that ALTON had responded to the collaboration approach with a promise that they would act accordingly and support PMAN on its demand and other related issues,with effect from January 2020.

“Up till now, ALTON has not lived up to its promise and expectation by scheduling any meeting to resolve the matter,” he said.

He added that ALTON had yet to show any form of collaboration or support toward safeguarding the interest of musicians and the industry.

“It is clear that ALTON members do not have any regard for the Nigerian music industry as they have decided to continue to exploit our musical content.

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