Top Cheri: NASCAM Never Paid Artists

NASCAM needs to pay up

By  | Oct 13, 2021, 04:30 PM  | TopCheri  | Drama

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The Covid-19 pandemic brought tough economic challenges to everyone and artists were not spared. The Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture released N$5 million to be allocated to artists, but award-winning musician Top Cheri now claims artists never received the funds. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture released the funds to The Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (NASCAM), and the music body was to ensure artists in need received the funds. 
However, pop singer Top Cheri has revealed that artists never received the money from NASCAM, whom she claims threatened and asked her to not speak out about the issue. Top Cheri revealed these details in a conversation with a tweep on Twitter who wanted to know if NASCAM ever paid Covid-19 relief funds to artists.

This tweet is not the first time Top Cheri has spoken out about NASCAM and the Covid-19 relief funds. Earlier this year, she humorously tweeted, in a sarcastic post, that NASCAM had paid certain artists N$13000 as Covid-19 relief funds. NASCAM denied these alleged payments and asked Top Cheri to take the post down, even if it was sarcastic and humorous. During this time, NASCAM’s Chief Executive Officer John Max told the public that the music organization was still looking for ways for artists to get the funds. Up until now, it seems NASCAM has not found ways to distribute the funds that artists desperately need.

Another artist responded to Top Cheri’s tweet wondering why NASCAM has not provided a response until today on the progress of disbursing the Covid-19 relief funds. He noted that the situation was hectic upon artists but NASCAM does not seem aware as the music body has not been triggered to respond with a statement on the statements made by Tori Cheri.

Artists have also expressed their lack of confidence in NASCAM's leadership. They have demanded for new leadership as they argue Max and his team have held the position for far too long to bring any meaningful change.

The covid-19 period has been unbearably hard for artists who depend on money from live performances and royalties to make a living. The live performances were not possible due to Covid-19 guidelines, while the royalties in 2020 were very low due to limited advertising packages among broadcast stations.

Artists normally receive two payments a year as royalties will barely get enough in 2021 and 2022. NASCAM has also limited funds and is using the available money to keep the organization running. The dry spell in artists’ finances is expected to continue in 2021 and 2022 because Covid-19 is still a threat, and the rate of vaccination in the country is low.

NASCAM has been under fire from musicians in the past too. The organization is mostly on the spotlight for the wrong reasons, as earlier this year artists demanded that the Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate NASCAM. These artists felt cheated out of their royalties after NASCAM awarded them money that they considered too little to be royalties. Pressreader reports that the highest earning artist got N$14000 while the lowest earning got $N1.15 as royalties. 

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