A little over a year after the Ministry of Culture undertook a plan to reform the Moroccan Copyright Office (BMDA) to ensure fair royalty distribution for artists, more challenges creatives face have made it to the surface.
In an exclusive interview with MoroccoLatestNews, a prominent Moroccan musical artist shed light on the pervasive disparities within the Moroccan music industry, the landscape of copyright issues, and the disconcerting prevalence of artists projecting an inaccurate image of Moroccan creative talents.
Speaking under the pseudonym “Aya” to safeguard her anonymity, the artist initially delved into the critical shortage of legal professionals equipped with the expertise to navigate the intricate web of rights and artist contracts.
This deficiency has left numerous artists vulnerable, often unwittingly ensnared in unfavorable agreements due to their limited understanding of contracts.
A little over a year ago, in 2022, the BMDA, faced severe criticism for alleged misappropriation of rightfully earned copyright revenues.
In response, a cohort of artists initiated an online campaign to expose the glaring opacity surrounding the workings of the bureau.
The artists unearthed a disconcerting revelation that “unknown” artists were reaping significant earnings, a situation the artists collectively called unjust.
Aya, impassioned by the cause and in solidarity with fellow artists, joined the campaign, but over the course of a year, she observed some of her peers quit the movement in favor of reaping benefits from various government-supported initiatives, including participation in prestigious national events.
Several artists engaged directly with Minister of Culture Mehdi Bensaid to voice their concerns.
In response, Minister Bensaid unveiled a comprehensive reform plan the previous year, aimed at overhauling the structure and operations of the Copyright Office.
Independence is bliss, or is it?
Aya, one of the many Moroccan artists who are independent and not signed to any label, reflected on how being independent can both be a blessing and a curse.
Artists under labels do indeed benefit from much, in terms of brand deals, commercials, and collaborations, but they’re all turning into a product rather than an artist, emphasized Aya
She has tried to maintain her independence over the years to create music that perfectly reflects her, with no one choosing what lyrics to write or not, and what subjects to avoid or to focus on.
However, being an independent artist, despite bringing certain peace of mind, comes with its inconveniences.
Moroccan artists, especially those signed to international labels and being managed by large teams are taking part in grand musical celebrations, as opposed to independent ones who feel marginalized and excluded.
Aya talked about artists who dabble in commercial songs and go viral, which helps them gain more fame and notoriety, prompting them to be very active on socials, with no proper media training, which reflects a misleading image of what a Moroccan artist is.
She recalled the various instances in which certain “famous” artists posted something and then “took it back” by deleting it, either after sparking outrage or being scolded by their teams.
While the complaints are endless, Aya hopes that one day the Moroccan music industry will reach a high level of professionalism, transparency, and equal opportunities, with the help of the proper bodies such as BMDA.