The government has launched a 24-hour television channel dedicated to young people to nurture and promote talent among youth. Y254, which is being aired on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) platform, seeks to promote local productions and help the youth make money out of art.
Information Communication Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said to enhance content for the station, the government has set up five ultra modern music recording studios to enable young artistes record music and other productions at subsidised rates.
The studios in Nairobi (2), and one each in Kisumu, Mombasa and Machakos are part of the government’s initiative to create self employment for the youth through arts, film, music and culture. Artistes who wish to fully own their songs shall pay Ksh10, 000 per song while those who don’t have the money will record for free and the proceeds shared with KBC at an agreeable percentage.
Mr Mucheru said Kenya is rich in talent, which goes untapped. He through the Studio Mashinani programme under which the five studios have been established, many Kenyans particularly the youth will record and publish their content for money.
Partnering with artistes
“We have a lot to document through art especially on our rich culture and music and this initiative is aimed at assisting the youth do just that,” said the CS.
Traditionally, artistes have had to pay high prices locally and abroad to have their music recorded which they then spend years selling manually on Compact Disks (CDs). However, through this initiative KBC will partner with artistes to enhance marketing and sale of their music.
Mr Mucheru said the Ministry of Information , Communications and technology is working on a policy to establish a platform to purely publish and market local music and films. “We know there are similar attempts in the private sector and all we are doing is to supplement their efforts,” said the CS.
Y254 is one of the initiatives by the government to create market for local music and productions, adding that a lot more shall be done. Studio Mashinani, an initiative of the ministry, came into being early last year to address challenges artistes face to get recorded.
A local boy’s band Sauti Soul claims to be the brainchild of the idea, which is set to revolutionise music production in the country. However, the CS clarified that the idea was developed from an existing ‘Radio Studio Mashinani’ which was run by KBC. “We have not stolen anybody’s idea. Actually we dropped the name radio because it was a KBC initiative for radio. But we branded the project ‘Studio Mashinani’ because it also has a film component,” he said.
Sauti Soul has been on social media claiming to have presented a proposal for the project to former Youth Enterprise Fund Chief Executive Officer Bruce Odhiambo. Mucheru said the government was not aware of the said proposal, adding that due process was followed to establish the studios. “We went through procurement procedures and it was actually published in the papers if they had any concerns they should have raised them then,” he said.
He added that the ministry was not at logger heads with the successful band but would engage and partner with them to further develop the project. Also present at the launch was broadcasting and telecommunications Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere, Arts and Culture Principal Secretary Joe Okudo and Kenya Film Classification Board Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua.