International music still dominates local airwaves – COSBOTS Report

COSBOTS has a Social and Cultural fund which amongst other responsibilities administers a funeral benefit scheme for creatives


Royalty collections society, COSBOTS last week released a music monitoring report that indicated that international music airplay continued to dominate local airwaves for the 1st July to December 2020 period. According to the report works usage for international music stood at 62% while local music airplay stood at 38% across all radio stations and the national TV station.

“The report is for information sharing purposes with our members and other key stakeholders,” said spokesperson of COSBOTS, Seeletso Lekgaba in an interview.
“We have committed to communicating regularly with all our stakeholders in the spirit of providing a better understanding about the work that we do at COSBOTS and for greater transparency. For us as a company this contributes to building effective long-term relationships with our key stakeholder and a range of other benefits.”

The Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) had previously shared that they are working around the clock to increase local airplay during the hard times where artists are struggling to make ends meet. When asked to make submissions on what industry key players could do to change the status quo, Lekgaba said the determination of airplay and the extent of which local repertoire can be broadcast on the airwaves is  the responsibility of BOCRA and the entities licensed by it. BOCRA, in terms of its Broadcasting mandate, requires Broadcasters to promote music tracks by local artists. The published mandate goes on to say broadcasters’ licences specify a certain percentage of local content to be complied with.

“BOCRA and the private radio and television stations are the ones best placed to answer this question,” she said.

“The mandate of COSBOTS on the other hand is to negotiate and grant licences in written agreement with the owners of copyright. COSBOTS is also mandated to set rates for royalties in accordance with acceptable international standards and the collect and distribute royalties to appropriate owners of copyright.”

Even though COSBOTS says it would like to see local works benefiting more Lekgaba indicated that it was also important to understand that they have a legal obligation to the international treaties, which Botswana is a signatory to such as the Berne Convention. One of the pillars of the international copyright speaks to the principle of equal treatment of all authors.  This principle dictates that each country guarantees foreign authors the same rights, guarantees and conditions as those recognized for national authors.

She said: “This equality of treatment between parties is of interest in relation to the authorizations to be granted, the verification of the use of works and the collection of remuneration as well as for the production of documentation which is reasonably sufficient in relation to the works and to their beneficiaries, the deductions made as management costs for social and cultural purposes and the distribution of royalties.”

Lekgaba also added that COSBOTS has a Social and Cultural fund which amongst other responsibilities administers a funeral benefit scheme for creatives. The primary function of the scheme is to provide financial support to the families of bereaved artists that are bona fide members of the collections society.