Master KG’s Jerusalema was the global lockdown hit in 2020. Individuals, corporate companies, and groups jumped on to the challenge, showcasing their dancing skills as they swung to the rhythm of the catchy tune.
Kenya’s Diana Marua cracked ribs online after her dancing skills to the famous tune were put to the test during a holiday in Mombasa.
Naivas introduced a Jerusalema Challenge for a majority of its branches, crowning the winner at the end of it. Mombasa county was also not left behind, with matching outfits and sleek moves, the governorship highlighted the feats the coastal town had achieved so far. Banks, Private companies, and various organizations took part too.
Master KG seems to have had a good year. Not only has the official music video clocked 344 million views on YouTube, but he beat artists including Burna Boy to win the MTV European Music Awards.
It is now emerging that Warner international, the international partners for Open Mic Productions, Master KG’s and Nomcebo Zikode’s record label, just recently sent out royalty invoices to video posters in Germany.
Dumisani Motsamai, an entertainment lawyer and the man who takes care of legal and business affairs for the company, said that a number of companies had taken advantage of the challenge to push their brands.
“There are situations where a child and their family are in their living room and they are doing the challenge, or they are outside and doing the challenge. That’s perfectly fine. But we have seen these challenges taking it a little bit too far, where really, what has been happening here is that people have been pushing their brands,” he said.
The lawyer says that the company is targeting these groups of brands and companies who had joined in the challenge for mileage.
“I saw brands where you would see a drone showing a view of a company yard, then you will see their workshop, they dish out products, they make sure they give you a picture of every product they sell. The song is playing in the background, and because it is playing in the background, now I have an interest in seeing what this particular company is doing,” he said.
Motsamai further explained that there was a very thin line, given the fact that some brands just showed logos once and focused on the dance, while others went all out to market and make the challenge into a mini-advertisement.
“..When you look at them, it’s all about the brand, the company that is doing the challenge and little about the challenge. Those are the ones that Warner and Open Mic has found,”
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The lawyer also clarified that the record label would not go after frontline workers who had taken part in the challenge.
“Those are the critical examples that we will certainly not go after. You can see they were using it within the context of uplifting spirits during difficult times and within the confines of the call that was made by the president,” he said.
Motsamai confirmed that they would be asking for payment from brands who had used the song as described above, although he said they were quite a few.
“We will start politely [asking for fees] locally because we have seen there has been a lot of skipping of the line. We do owe it, not just to Open Mic, but to the people who were part of it. [Open Mic] owns the master, but we also have a duty to pay royalties to the people whose sound is embedded, whose performance is in the master, and in this case it is Master KG and Nomcebo,” Motsamai explained.