Beat Bulletin July 2017

Beat Bulletin July 2017

Dear SAMRO Member

It has been a tragic month in the music fraternity, with the loss of giants such as Dr Johnny Mekoa, Ray Phiri and Errol Dyers. Their legacy will live on and the melody of their genius will forever remain embedded in our musical history and beating in our hearts. Luckily for us, music transcends all time and space and lives on forever. Long live music!

Such moments serve as a reminder to use the gifts we’ve been given, to hone our craft and, most importantly, to do what we love. It’s a reminder to rise up, show commitment and not stop until we achieve those dreams.

In this issue, we deliberate over the Copyright Amendment Bill and the concerns of the South African Copyright Alliance arising from the proposed new law and its impact on music creators and their royalty earnings.

On a musical note, we steal a moment backstage with hit songwriter Dumza Maswana, whose rich baritone drowned out the incessant screams from swooning fans in the crowd during his recent live performance at The Orbit in Braamfontein.

Sheer Music Publishing outlines the common mistakes made by up-and-coming musicians when looking for a publishing deal and how to get the most buck for your talent.

In SAMRO Foundation news, 12 young keyboard maestros will do “hand to hand combat” in the SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition in August. We cannot wait to watch these talents showcasing their craft on stage.

In other news, Moshito 2017 is heading back to Newtown, in what promises to be a bigger and better music conference and exhibition than ever. The conference and exhibition will draw representatives from more than 16 international music markets.

We close with some amazing live music performances you can catch in a city near you over the coming month.

Till the next issue – keep making magic.


Tiyani Maluleke
GM: Marketing

A collective of concerned bodies under the umbrella of the South African Copyright Alliance have written to the parliamentary portfolio committee on trade and industry on the provisions in the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill that, they believe, undermine creators’ copyright.

The organisations – SAMRO, CAPASSO, DALRO, RiSA, SAMPRA, MASA and MPA SA – collectively represent most of the country’s music creators and publishers as well as book authors and publishers.

“While we welcome the DTI’s intent to modernise the copyright regime, as the South African Copyright Alliance we are concerned that certain provisions in the Bill, if passed into law, disadvantage the very creators the Bill aims to protect,” said Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) CEO Nothando Migogo.

She explained that the Copyright Amendment Bill suggests that users (e.g. broadcasters, digital music services) of copyright-protected material should enjoy the same privileges as the creators of that material.

“This would mean that a user is given the right to earn income, royalties, from material that is not theirs. This is in direct conflict with the basic principles of copyright law,” Migogo said. This would naturally dilute the revenue payable to creators in the music and literary industries, pushing them into further financial woes”.

Further, where the state or other organisation commissions a creator to create content, the Bill proposes that such commission triggers an automatic loss of copyright in that content – a proposal that will see composers and authors lose their existing right to earn royalties from SAMRO (performing rights revenue) and CAPASSO (mechanical rights revenue) when, for example, broadcasters use their work. This would also theoretically apply to filmmakers funded by the state, who would lose control of their work should they forfeit their copyright ownership.

Migogo said the South African Copyright Alliance’s final major concern is around the Bill’s insistence on significantly increasing and making blurry the instances where copyrighted material can be used, many times by large multinational organisations, without compensating, or even alerting, the copyright owner.

In the current version of the Act, a creator knows when her song or book can be used (by the media, a school etc) without compensating her for such use.

This Bill essentially says ‘well, you can use it for free as long as a court of law will find the use to be fair’ “

It introduces a very vague concept to the law that will force many songwriters and authors to approach the courts in attempt to protect their copyright. This vague concept of “fair use” is a direct import from the USA, a very litigious society where the court system works much faster than it does here in South Africa.

“It is confusing how we call for stronger systems (legislation and institutions) to work towards ensuring creators live better quality lives and are able to retire and pass on with dignity, yet our legislators are pushing laws that weaken the system that protects them.

How can it be the intention of the lawmaker to put academic writers of prescribed university books in the position where a university buys one copy of the book and makes free copies for its 2000 students, without compensating the author at all?”

Having written to the portfolio committee considering the Bill to articulate its concerns, she said that, “the South African Copyright Alliance is more than willing to engage the committee in a workshop in order to demonstrate how copyright underlies the basis of the music and literary industries”.

For more information, please contact 011 712 8505/8521 or email

GIG Guide

4 August 2017: Joyous Celebration 21 at Durban ICC Arena – from 8pm.
Tickets from R200 @Computicket

5 August 2017: Mi Casa #WeAreFamilia album launch @ Good Luck Bar (Johannesburg) – from 8pm
Tickets from R150 @Computicket

5 August 2017: Melo B Jones @ Soweto Arts and Craft Fair (Soweto Theatre) – from 12pm
Tickets at R20

18 August 2017: The Parlotones @ The Boardwalk Amphitheatre (Port Elizabeth) – from 8pm
Tickets from R200 @Computicket

22 August 2017: The SAMRO UCT Big Band @ Baxter Theatre Centre (Cape Town) – from 7.30pm
Tickets: R70 @Computicket

26 August 2017: 2017 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition for Keyboardists @ZK Matthews Hall, UNISA (Pretoria) – from 6.30pm
Tickets: From R50 @Webtickets

26 August 2017: An evening with Lindiwe Maxolo @ Red Theatre (Soweto Theatre) – from 8pm
Tickets from R150 @Webtickets

27 August 2017: Lebo Sekgobela Live @Mittah Seperepere Conference Centre (Kimberly) – from 6pm
Tickets from R150 @Computicket

Five minutes with Dumza Maswana

When Dumza Maswana sings, he does so in such a rich baritone that he can drown out the incessant screams from swooning fans in the crowd. Luckily, there is more to him than just his voice – he is a bona fide songwriter too. The nomination of his sophomore album, Molo, for a Best African Adult Album South African Music Award (SAMA) this year showed there is more to come from this proud father and former session musician.

We chatted to him after his impressive gig at The Orbit in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, in June.

Question: You started singing in your adolescent years, but do you remember the first song you wrote or completed?
The first song I finished was ‘Thula Moya Wam’, and I wrote it for a group I started singing with, Healing Voices, from back home, Ngqushwa in the Eastern Cape. I was 17 then.

Q: Which do you think is the best song you have ever written?
It has to be ‘Sombawo’ from my latest album, Molo. From the melody and arrangement to the language. It's a simple melody with a message that resonates with everyone. By the time it finishes, people are singing along – without fail.

Q: What's the longest and shortest time it has taken you to write a song?
The longest time was three years. Some of the songs I finished writing in studio. They were there as rough sketches on my phone or in my notebook. The shortest it has ever taken me was three days. ‘Ubizo’ from my album is one of the last songs I did in studio; I dumped two other songs and wrote two new songs with the team.

Q: Is there a song out there that you wish you had written?
It has to be ‘Inkanyezi’ by Mondli Ngcobo. That is such a beautiful song.

Q: Who was or is your musical mentor?
A: For the longest time I hoped I'd get in touch with people like RJ Benjamin, the late Victor Ntoni, Black Coffee and ntate Caiphus Semenya. I love and respect them. But they have all indirectly mentored me. I'll mention one person who really helped me vocally - Nonhlanhla Kubeka, who's a vocal coach from Soweto.

Q: What's more important in the pursuit of success – ambition or talent?
For me, it takes both. You can't do it with just one. You're blessed if you are a talented person with ambitions. When it's only ambition with no talent, it always seems like misplaced zeal. Also, talent with no ambition is like wasted talent.

Q: What's been the greatest achievement of your career so far?
My greatest achievement has been recording my album the way I had envisioned it. I got to work with all the producers and musicians I wanted to work with. The album was subsequently nominated for a SAMA, which was the cherry on top.

Sheer Music Publishing gives tips on publishing deals

Question: How many musicians does Sheer Publishing represent?
Sheer Publishing represents 4 111 South African writers, 198 African writers from a broad range of countries and a lot of international songwriters who need a great sub-publisher on the African continent.

Q: When looking for a publishing deal, what are some of the key things to consider?
Every piece of music has an audience – if the publisher and the writer are aligned on who that potential audience is, then there is a good fit. Publishers and writers become partners on a song and therefore, there is a strong requirement that both are pulling together in the same direction – that makes for a partnership that creates value for both partners.

Q: Why do songwriters need a publisher anyway? Can I not do it on my own?
A publisher looks after two areas – administration of rights and monetisation of those rights. A hit song in the current digital environment can have millions of unique transactions (each stream creates a transaction at very low value) and each transaction needs to be monitored and split correctly. A publisher also comes with a set of customers that represent opportunities for music to be monetised – by working together with the songwriter – and by adding the songwriters’ customers to the publishers’ customers, the partnership creates more value for the songs.

Q: What is it going to cost me should I sign with a publisher such as Sheer?
No upfront fees – we take a percentage of income. The percentage that we take is in line with the writer’s current earnings and this changes over time as the writer grows their catalogue and their earnings.

Q: What is the difference between a music publishing company and a music label?
A music publishing company represents songwriters and their songs, while a music label represents artists and their recordings.

Q: Should I sign with Sheer Publishing, for example, how do I get income from music publishing?
A: Sheer Publishing represents songwriters on any record label (even the independent artist releases) and we collect money for the songwriter from:

  • Copying of music – records, downloads and ring-back tones;
  • Public performance on radio and television (among other platforms);
  • Synchronisation licences (using the song in an advertisement, film or TV programme); and
  • Print (sheet music or lyrics).

Q: What if someone contacts me about using my music for film or TV? Can a publisher help me negotiate a licensing agreement?
Definitely – that is something we do every day for our clients.

​Fleet-fingered piano whizzes vie for top SAMRO honours

Twelve young keyboard maestros will do “hand to hand combat” in the SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition in August.

Not so long ago, the SAMRO Foundation unveiled the semi-finalists who have been selected to compete for one of the most sought-after music education awards in Jazz and Western Art music.

After testing their skills and endurance during another two intensive rounds of competition, the two winners will each receive a R200 000 scholarship to pursue their professional development internationally.

The 2017 semi-finalists are:

Western Art Music: Peter Cartwright, Willem de Beer, Lourens Fick, Megan-Geoffrey Prins and Bronwyn van Wieringen (all piano)

Jazz: Lifa Arosi, Elizabeth Gaylord, Blake Hellaby, Teboho Kobedi, Ntando Ngcapo, Thandi Ntuli and Nicholas Williams (all piano)

SAMRO Foundation Managing Director André le Roux noted that due to “an exceptionally strong field this year”, the adjudicators decided to allow “the magnificent seven” candidates instead of the usual six in the Jazz category. One of the six Western Art Music semi-finalists withdrew from the competition due to clashing commitments, leaving five remaining.

Interestingly, three candidates are making repeat appearances this year, having participated the previous time the SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition was held for keyboard players in 2013.

Two of this year’s jazz semi-finalists, Lifa Arosi and Nicholas Williams, are hoping for second time lucky. Arosi won the SAMRO/De Waal Award in 2013 and Williams was the runner-up to Bokani Dyer that year while also scooping two subsidiary awards.

Furthermore, Megan-Geoffrey Prins was the Western Art music runner-up (to winner Jan Hugo) in 2013 and won a string of additional prizes too for his prowess on the piano.

“The fact that these three gifted instrumentalists have entered again demonstrates not only the prestige attached to this competition, but also their tenacity. Through this competition and our other programmes, we are steadily growing the SAMRO alumni to include young musicians who feel they have a welcoming and nurturing home in the organisation, together with our other cultural ambassadors,” Le Roux said.

“We pride ourselves on remaining closely involved in the career trajectories of these bright young stars as they navigate their way through the ranks of the local and global music industry,” said SAMRO CEO Nothando Migogo.

The 12 semi-finalists will now be flexing their fingers in preparation for the semi-final round on Thursday, 24 August 2017, at UNISA’s ZK Matthews Hall in Pretoria, ahead of the much-anticipated final round on Saturday, 26 August 2017, at the same venue.

For more information, visit

Moshito 2017 goes back to Newtown

After virtually everything that used to make Johannesburg tick – music and all that makes it groove – was sucked out of the Newtown cultural precinct, Moshito has decided to go back to the city’s creative centre: the Newtown Music Factory (the former Bassline) will host the 2017 music conference and exhibition from 6 to 9 September.

Until a few years back, Gauteng Tourism, Kaya FM, the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Xarra Books and the Bassline Africa Day Festival were the shining lights of Newtown’s creative economy. Except for the Market Theatre and African Storm’s Ragga Nights every Thursday, Newtown is now a shadow of its former glory, when it was a melting pot of Joburg’s cultural expressions.

However, this is about to change. The Board of Moshito has decided to go back to Newtown for its 2017 music conference and exhibition.

Known for its music showcases and networking sessions, and drawing representatives from more than 16 international music markets, Moshito has earned its place as the most admired music market on the continent. The music conference and workshop hosts 500-plus high-quality delegates, and is a forum where a number of music festivals are held.

This year’s theme is “Rhythms of the Ancients”, with Dizu Plaatjies of Amampondo and Candy Tsamandebele as the faces of Moshito 2017.

Since 2004, the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition has established itself as Africa’s premier music industry event. Its purpose is to broaden the business intelligence of music industry professionals in Africa, strengthen business networks for participants and inform delegates, traders and the public about the multifaceted and dynamic nature of the global music industry.

Confirming the decision to go back to Newtown, Dr Sipho Sithole, the Board Chairperson, said: “As Moshito, we are quite happy with our resolve to ensure that Newtown does not just become a cultural precinct that will be defined as ‘used to be’ or ‘was’. The history of Newtown as a reservoir for all things artistic, musical and creative cannot be ignored; hence our decision to go back. This is where Moshito was born and it's a natural consequence that we should re-occupy that space. It's within walking distance of the city’s transport hub and therefore, the venue is quite accessible to the majority of the industry’s practioners.”

Last year, Moshito launched the Moshito-Ukhozi Gospel Festival, hosted by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, which will again take place this year in November at Germiston Lake.

The Moshito Board wants to not only grow the number of delegates attending the conference and the number of exhibitors seeking to trade at this premier event, but also seeks to increase the number of similar music markets attending Moshito.

Moshito 2017 promises to be bigger and better, with highlights including its popular opening night concert on 6 September, the Afro-World Concert on 7 September at the Soweto Theatre, and the free street festival on 9 September.

For enquiries contact Sina Kwepile, Conference Director, on 011 712 8423 or Visit