Spice Diana took one more step in showing her frustration over the royalties payment she received from the Uganda Performing Right Society (UPRS): she returned the money.
The singer, real name Hajara Namukwaya, was one of many artists who took to their social media accounts earlier this month to express shock and disgust upon receiving pocket-change cash amounts as royalties from their music.
Diana received a measly Shs. 319, 635 for the entire 5 years of her music career. Other artists also shared their portions; Angela Katatumba for instance got Shs 102,000, Lady Mariam received Shs 65,000, while Karole Kasita got Shs. 21,000.
In a recent interview, Diana revealed that she had decided to send the money back to UPRS in protest. “I called the people who gave me the money and I sent it back,” she said. “I used their bank account and set it back. They have nothing to say to me.”
The Uganda National Musicians Association (UNMA) where Diana is an executive, has cited the issue of royalties among the main concerns they are seeking to address.
Without fair compensation for the work, Diana says, Musicians are being and will continue to be condemned to poverty. Even powerful artists like her, she says, are feeling the pinch.
“You make your song like “Sili regular” and it blows up everywhere, but you can look for Shs 100,000 sometimes and you can’t find it,” she said.
“If you look at caller tunes for instance, fans have our songs on their phones and they pay Shs. 1200 per month to listen to a song that you have promoted; but that money doesn’t get to the artist; yet every fan would want to see their artist developing.”
“We are getting pressed against the wall and we need to keep fighting, our mistakes notwithstanding. Mistakes can be made in the process but that should not be the focus.”
The UNMF this week finally secured a certificate of incorporation from the Uganda National Registration Services Bureau.