Safaricom recently ushered in a new philosophy under the tagline Twaweza, under which it shows commitment to coming down to the people and working more with the strengths of togetherness. Towards this, Safaricom is already working with communities in sports, healthcare, wildlife conservation and music to name a few. Twaweza simply means that when communities come together, great thing happen.

Take a look at SKIZA for example, a personalized ring-back tone service that allows you to download a tune to be listened to by your callers as they wait for you to pick your phone. Through the SKIZA platform, Safaricom provides a forum for the Kenyan music community to sell their music and to reach the company’s 28 Million subscribers. SKIZA came about 16 years ago and over the years, the platform has garnered 11 Million users and 132,000 tunes, 125,000 of which are by Kenyan artists.

Other than the selling music, SKIZA is also empowering artists with free legal knowledge surrounding copyright and entertainment law – something crucial so that musicians understand their position, and their hard earned money does not fall in the wrong hands due to lack of knowledge on their part. One such empowerment summit was held recently at Carnivore Grounds and was attended by hundreds of artists, not just from Nairobi but from the surroundings too.

A similar summit was held in Mombasa in mid June, where Safaricom announced that artist earnings on the SKIZA platform will go up by 36%.  Artists currently earn 30% on SKIZA, up from 22%. These monies will be paid to artist in accordance to the recent legal directives and as the Corporate Director at Safaricom Stephen Chege promises, the telco is “working on a template contract for artists which will be offered to them free of charge to ensure they get a fair share of money due to them from the SKIZA platform and that the money is paid on time”.

Stephen Chege adds that “in addition to an increase in earnings, artistes on the Skiza platform can now keep track of their income on the platform by dialing *622# or by visiting www.skiza.com. The reporting will be available on a real-time basis and will enable artistes to view their own earnings, a shift from the previous situation which saw only CSPs access the portal”.

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