Stain Phiri back to work

Starts embedding songs for protection


After suffering from stroke that forced him to return home from South Africa, veteran musician Stain Phiri is gradually recuperating and has since opened up to the business of embedding songs for protection.

The producer, who is one of the names in the original Kalimba Band that made a name for Malawi having conquered the world with the album Make Friends With the World which has hits such ‘Sometimes I Wonder’, said, before artists take their music to the radio and Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma), it has to be embedded with (International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) codes and the project be barcoded.

“I have been doing this for more than 10 years in South Africa. This will help Cosoma trace artist’s songs from anywhere in the world when being played. I embed both audio and video and this creates real ownership of the song to the artist,” the keyboardist said yesterday.


The Blantyre-based musician said if artists do not have ISRC codes, he will be able to provide and create a barcode, adding that this is professionally done worldwide.

“Each ISRC code identifies a specific unique recording and can be permanently encoded into a product as a kind of digital fingerprint. It can be used for sales tracking by the music download and streaming platforms. So, whether your music is being played in Europe or America, it will be instantly recognised,” Phiri said.

Based in Chirimba, the artist, who is now in his 60s, has been undergoing physiotherapy following the stroke.


Cosoma Head of Documentation and Distribution Shadrick Kumtengo said Tuesday they will wait for him to reach out.

“Of course, we are aware of ISRC codes and how they work. It is good to have a service provider who could be doing it in the country. The codes make it easy to track works in the digital space.

“Let me mention that some artists already made efforts to have their codes done in foreign countries,” Kumtengo said.

He also said that getting ISRC codes is the responsibility of individual artists.

“We do not want to put forward that Cosoma will use these codes to track royalties. Artists could get these codes and also indicate them when registering their works. Getting ISRC could be a private arrangement between artists and service provider,” Kumtengo said.

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