The hymns are being advertised by Painters Records, a Kampala-based music-recording studio, on their Facebook page, where links are availed to those who want to download or listen to them at a cost. The links lead to online music-streaming platforms that include iTunes, Deezer, Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon.
The music album is going for 18,000 shillings online but the choir or church has never received the money.
The leaders of Pilgrims Choir of St John’s Cathedral in Kabarole have given varying statements on how their music album
ended up for sale online.
A week ago, Monica Rubombora , one of the
members of the Ruwenzori Diocese Global Zoom Service informed their online
forum that she had come across digital platforms where an album of 15 recently
recorded hymns of Pilgrims Choir were being sold.
Pilgrims is the main choir of St John’s Cathedral in
Ruwenzori Diocese. The hymns are being advertised by Painters Records, a
Kampala-based music-recording studio on their Facebook page where links are
availed to those who want to download or listen to them at a cost. The links lead to online music-streaming platforms that include iTunes, Deezer,
Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon. To access them, one needs to
download and signup with any of the audio streaming platforms.
like Deezer charge up to USD 7.49 (Shillings 27,000) monthly for one to be able
to listen to millions of songs they have stored. The monthly charge is exclusive of the cost of downloading a single song whose
price also varies with the platform used but on Apple Music, the whole album goes
for Shillings 18,000 and a single hymn costs Shillings 1,700.
Rubombora wondered whether the church was benefiting financially from the sale
of the songs since they have financial constraints and are in need of securing
better machines like recorders and high-definition cameras worth millions of
money. A number of members of St John’s Cathedral then tasked the choir
leader, Benjamin Rwabwogo, to explain the issue given the fact that they have
held fundraisers to meet the choir’s financial needs.
Rwabwogo issued a statement saying that even though they contracted Painters
Records in 2018 to produce the “Tulisemererwa Obutilihikayo” album and fully
paid for it, they never authorized them to sell it let alone publish it
anywhere. He also said that during the same period, they, as Cathedral
choir administration discussed how the music can be marketed within and
outside the diocese but didn’t arrive at a conclusion.
“Therefore, I wish to state that the release of this music for commercial
markets was done in error by Painters Records. Painters Records has no rights
to publish anything on our behalf without our permission and or agreement,”
reads part of Rwabwogo’s statement.
He also states that he has found out that the music has been on sale since July
13, 2020 and over 300 people have either listened or subscribed to the
audio-streaming platforms, adding that the choir and church leadership will sit
with the music, studio to resolve the matter.
However, the Choir treasurer, James Obo Katenta, says Painters
Records was authorized to market the hymns. He says in February this year, he
went with Rwabwogo to Painters Records and verbally agreed with them to upload
the music for sale. They also agreed that the choir can always get some money
every three months. Katenta,
however, says that they never received any money from the sale of their
Daniel Mwesigye, who is advertising the music on Painters
Records Facebook page told our reporter in a phone interview that Rwabwogo and
Katenta authorized them to sell the music on behalf of the choir despite the
fact that they didn’t write an agreement. Mwesigye declined to reveal how much
they have made from selling the music. We
have also established that even though Pilgrims Choir has its own
administration, it is still under the church and all its dealings must be well
documented and known to the cathedral administration.
The Chairperson of Association of Audio Producers in Uganda,
David Luutu, says that if the choir wants to benefit from its music maximally,
its administration should be the one in charge of selling and advertising the
hymns because the proceeds will keep coming as long as the music is still
Luutu advises that to avoid financial loss that comes with having
intermediaries in the selling and advertising process, the choir can create its
own account with different audio-streaming platforms and put the choir bank
account number so that the money can directly go to them at full
Rev Ezra Musobozi, the Sub Dean of St John’s Cathedral says they are going to
meet as church leaders to resolve the matter that has since sparked a
Bureau Chief, Tooro Sub-Region