Licensed to Play June 2017

Licensed to Play June 2017

Dear SAMRO Licensee

We are halfway through the year – how is your “glass” looking? Half full or half empty? Whichever way you look at it, there’s no turning back. We can only take a moment to reflect and re-evaluate the goals we have set ourselves, and if we have not done so already, re-look at our game plan on how to achieve them in the second half of the year.  

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation NPC (SAMRO) together with the Composers Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) jointly announces the appointment of Nothando Migogo as the incoming Chief Executive Officer of SAMRO, from 1 July 2017. The new CEO will certainly inject a dynamic and focused energy into the copyright administration society.

We spend five minutes with local hitmaker Donald and find out more about his songwriting skills and also chat about his new album. With close to eight years in the music industry under his belt, his latest release, Something More – a visual album – signals his staying power and creative genius, as well as how he nurtures his brand.

Like a precious gem, copyright can be an extremely valuable and enduring asset to the owner. We discuss the value of copyright and salute licensees for respecting musicians’ intellectual property, as your ongoing support enables artists to leave a lasting legacy.

Also, we have some exciting news for South African music promoters: thanks to Concerts SA, you can now access a handy online toolkit to help you with funding applications, marketing, concert production and other essential skills.

Wondering why you have to pay licence fees for hosting live performances? If you created or invented something and others made use of it, wouldn't you want to benefit financially? We unpack why it’s necessary to pay a licence fee to SAMRO, giving your venue the right to use SAMRO's extensive worldwide repertoire of copyrighted musical works.

Lastly, check out our July gig guide, which is packed with details of phenomenal live performances.

Until the next issue – keep supporting South African music.


Tiyani Maluleke
GM: Marketing

Meet our new CEO

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation NPC (SAMRO) together with the Composers Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) this week jointly announced the appointment of Nothando Migogo as incoming Chief Executive Officer of SAMRO, from 1 July 2017, saying she will inject a “dynamic and focused energy” into the copyright administration society.

“The Boards of SAMRO and CAPASSO are  pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Nothando Migogo as the Chief Executive Officer of SAMRO”, the two bodies said in a joint statement.

Nothando has been CEO of CAPASSO since January 2014 and has led that organisation, together with a dynamic team, to triple digit revenue growth and crucial licensing breakthroughs. Importantly, CAPASSO initiated two key strategies: first, the integration of rights holders (composers and publishers) in the field of mechanical rights administration following years of fragmented administration and secondly, the licensing of digital music platforms in South Africa.

The SAMRO Board said that Migogo would succeed the acting Group CEO, Reverend Abe Sibiya. Sibiya will return to the chairmanship of the organisation once she assumes office in July, and acting chair Sibongile Khumalo will resume her position as his deputy.

Migogo, who was appointed following a lengthy recruitment process, is no stranger to SAMRO. She previously served as the managing director of DALRO, a SAMRO subsidiary that administers literary, artistic and dramatic rights, serves on the board of SAMRO Foundation and more recently spearheaded the establishment of mechanical rights collecting society CAPASSO.

“It was at CAPASSO where Nothando’s skills, knowledge and her visionary, and strategic insights became abundantly clear,” Khumalo noted this week.

A lawyer by training, Migogo has previously worked in educational publishing and as a tax consultant, and during her DALRO stint was named by the Mail & Guardian as one of its Top 200 Young South Africans to watch.

Sibiya, who was appointed to chair the SAMRO Board seven years ago, assumed the mantle of acting Group CEO when Sipho Dlamini stepped down in March 2016. He reflected that he has had to dig deep into his experience as a media executive and fuse it with lessons from the “SAMRO University” to carry out the role.

Over the past year, he and the executive team have focused on improving efficiencies, while accelerating transformation and BEE within the organisation. Their achievements include improving the royalty tariff payable by the public broadcaster, thereby increasing performing rights revenue for SAMRO members.

“Ms Migogo is an astute and intelligent executive and a tried-and-tested professional who is credited with setting up CAPASSO from scratch. She has proved her mettle and will no doubt give a good account of herself as she steers this 55-year-old organisation with its 15 000 members. I know she will prove to be an asset to SAMRO,” commented Sibiya.

Added Khumalo: “Nothando is one of a growing cohort of astute young executives with a values-based attitude to leadership. We look forward to her moving SAMRO firmly along on its quest to remain an ethical and forward-looking modern organisation, and a vital player in our industry’s digital space.”

How do licence fees become artist royalties?

SAMRO licensees are aware of the importance of copyright and the need to compensate music creators – the composers and authors who add value to a business, venue or broadcaster by creating the music that is played or performed there. But the question many music users ask is: “Where does all the money from licence fees go?”

The short answer is that the money ends up in the hands of the music authors, composers and publishers who wrote and/or own the rights to the songs, after SAMRO’s administration fee is deducted. The process of getting it to them, however, is detailed and labour intensive. And it all starts when licence fees are paid to SAMRO.

SAMRO licenses a venue and collects the music usage fee. The SAMRO sales team assesses the type of business and, based on this, issues a licence to use music in public. To ensure that their music usage tariff is correct, licensees are urged to inform SAMRO of any changes in their business so that the fee can be reassessed if necessary.

SAMRO analyses all the music usage reports. SAMRO receives music usage reports from its licensees and uses that data as the basis to calculate royalty distributions to members. These reports contain the following details:

- The name of the work/song;
- The name of the artist who performs it;
- The name of the composer and author; and
- When and how many times it was broadcast or played.

The pool of music usage fees is then divided among the various rights holders whose works were performed during that period, and then allocated as royalty payments during the various distributions.

What about businesses that don’t submit music usage reports? Broadcasters are required to submit music usage reports, but general music users, such as restaurants and coffee shops, do not have do so.

The next logical question, then, is: “How does SAMRO know who to pay if it doesn’t know what music was played?” In an ideal world, all music users would be able to document each and every song played in their establishments on a daily basis. Realistically, this is unlikely to happen in, for example, a grocery store where the owner switches between radio stations and CDs. The administrative burden alone would ensure a low rate of compliance.

Broadcasters, on the other hand, work off cue sheets and playlists and, as such, should be in a position to account for all musical works played. Therefore, SAMRO uses representative samples from the usage data submitted by licensed broadcasters to distribute music usage fees collected from non-reporting licensees.

This is in line with international standards, where it is largely accepted that collective rights management is not an exact science, but a means by which a fair and equitable outcome can be reached.

What about live performances? SAMRO receives reports from concert organisers and live music venues, detailing what music was performed when and for how long. This information is fed into SAMRO’s systems to enable royalties to be processed for the creators and rights holders of the songs that were performed. Often, performing artists notify SAMRO of the music they have played at their live performances.

What if the music I play doesn’t belong to a SAMRO member? There are two possible scenarios in this instance. The first is that the music belongs to a composer who is a member of a Performing Rights administration organisation in another country. If that is the case, in all likelihood SAMRO would have a bilateral agreement in place with that organisation, to which it would send any royalties that accrue to the composer or author.

The other possibility is that the music belongs to a music creator who is not a member of SAMRO, but who should be. SAMRO would then attempt to locate the person and sign them up as a SAMRO member. Once a SAMRO member, he or she can be paid royalties and continue to enjoy royalty payments in the future.

Five minutes with a hitmaker: Donald on his new visual album

Donald Moatshe already has close to eight years in the mainstream music industry, but with his latest release, the visual album Something More, he is signalling his intention to dominate for the foreseeable future. 

We sat down with the multi-award-winning performer for a brief chat about his first visual album, which features a music video for every track and includes stars such as Tiwa Savage, Abdul Khoza and Masechaba Ndlovu. He’s also released his Red Mic Xperience (RMX) live DVD.

Question: Do you remember the first song you wrote or completed?
Answer: Yes. The first song I wrote and completed was titled ‘Tell Me What You Want’, and I wrote it back in high school for a group I used to be a part of called Image Voices.

Q: Which do you think is the best song you have ever written?
A: I think the best song I've ever written would have to be ‘Raindrops’ featuring Tiwa Savage off my new album, Something More.

Q: What's the shortest time it has taken you to write a song – and did it make it onto any of your albums?
A: The fastest it has taken me to write a song would have to be an hour on the song called ‘Know You Better’ from my first album, Just Donald. It was also my first ever song to be played on radio.

Q: Is there a song out there that you wish you had written?
Yes, I would have loved to have written Nathi’s ‘Nomvula’, and ‘Her Heart’ by Anthony Hamilton.

Q: How has Donald Moatshe's songwriting changed from your debut to your latest album?
My songwriting has changed in that I have a whole lot more to say, so there's more lyrics in my songs than before. But the approach of my songwriting is still pretty much the same – easy and relatable.

Q: Finally, tell us how making a visual album impacted, if at all, on how you wrote the album. Did you have to think about how it would translate on video or did you have to mould the visuals to fit the lyrics?
Writing the new visual album Something More was slightly different in that I had to definitely envision the music video while I was still writing the songs, to make it easier to have songs that tie easily together at the end of the day.

There is a saying that a diamond is forever. Copyright in an original work may not last forever but, like a precious gem, it can be an extremely valuable and enduring asset to the owner.

This is because not only does the composer/author of a music work profit from its use while he or she is alive, but their family, estate or beneficiaries will keep on earning royalties from the music for 50 years after the music creator's death.  
This is why SAMRO values its licensees so much – they are an integral link in the music value chain, helping to ensure that music creators receive their dues from their copyright-protected works.

Copyright is an exclusive set of rights granted to a music creator – someone who composes original music or writes original lyrics. These rights ensure that the songwriter receives fair compensation in the form of royalties when a work is used in any form. This includes performing the work in public, or broadcasting, adapting, reproducing, publishing, distributing, synchronising to video or electronically transmitting it.

In South Africa, the intellectual property that goes into creating a song is protected by the Copyright Act (No. 98 of 1978) and the Performers' Protection Act (No. 11 of 1967). These laws ensure that whoever created the composition owns the copyright in it while they are alive, and for 50 years after their death. During that period, anyone who wants to reproduce the work in any form must seek permission from the composer or author, his/her heirs and any other rights holders – and must pay for using it.

After the 50-year period has expired, the work becomes part of the public domain and may be used without compensating the author or composer's heirs.

It’s possible to cede part of the copyright in a person’s works to other parties while that person is still alive – such as publishers and producers. Such rights should not, however, be given away lightly and musicians should do their homework before signing on any dotted lines.

So the fruits of your creative spirit are protected by copyright in theory – but how do you enforce it in practice? Unlike trademarks or patents, legally, a composer or writer does not need to register copyright in their creative works. But as long as the work exists in physical form – in other words, not only as an idea in your head – it is automatically copyrighted. So it must be written down or recorded in order to be eligible for copyright protection.

When musicians notify their works with a collective administration society such as SAMRO, they are protecting their copyright and are eligible to receive royalties from the public performance of their work – thanks to the valuable contributions of licensees like you!

Concerts SA’s free online toolkit to give musicians a head start

South African music promoters and musicians can now access a handy online toolkit to help them with funding applications, marketing, concert production and other essential skills to help them get ahead in the industry.

Concerts SA, as part of its exchange programme with Norway’s Kulturtanken, has partnered with the Norwegian Live Music Association to adapt its online toolkit for South African music professionals to use and draw benefit from.

This web-based resource is now available for free public access by South African music professionals here.

Primarily aimed at emerging and budding musicians, event organisers and promoters, the toolkit also offers useful tips for established artists and other players who may be unfamiliar with some aspects of the industry.

The seven chapters include user-friendly guides on:

  • How to apply for funding and grants from various industry bodies;
  • How to book and manage artists (including the role that agents, publicists and record labels play in the artist’s team);
  • How to work with finances and calculate budgets for events, operating expenses, crew wages and other overheads;
  • The importance of brand building and marketing, including using flyers, posters, press releases, advertising and platforms such as social media to market your event;
  • The technical aspects of concert production, such as selecting a venue, crowd management and safety, acoustics, lights, PA systems and so on;
  • How to ensure safety and security at concerts and events, including emergency procedures and risk assessments; and
  • How to approach potential sponsors to buy into you, your brand or your products, and how to compile a sponsorship strategy.

“We realised that many South African promoters and musicians, while having the necessary talent and the drive, are being disadvantaged in the music business by not having certain professional skills that could accelerate their progress,” said Nailla Dollie, Concerts SA Project Manager.

“We hope that this user-friendly toolkit, which has been slightly revised to reflect the South African music context, will equip practitioners with an arsenal of essential knowledge that will help to instil the confidence required to take their professional lives forward.”

The Concerts SA project, which is administered by the SAMRO Foundation, was started in 2013 to reinvigorate live music performance in South Africa. This is being achieved through direct, targeted interventions aimed at building capacity and stimulating a thriving live music circuit primarily through its Venue Circuit, School Circuit and Music Mobility Fund programmes.

Concerts SA also drives research initiatives as a public resource, for use in its own development, for engagement around art-related policy issues, and as a public lobbying and advocacy tool.

To learn more about Concerts SA, visit

Why do I have to pay a licence fee for hosting live performances?

If you created or invented something and others made use of it, wouldn't you want to benefit financially? So do composers and lyricists, who have the right to be compensated for the use of their intellectual property. That's why users of music are required to pay for the incredible value that music brings to different business spaces.

If your venue is hosting a live gig, you are deriving a financial benefit from the music. "But I'm already paying the band a performance fee," you argue. "Why must I pay a licence fee as well?"

Supporting our local musicians by giving them a platform on which to perform is all very well and good, but you also have to pay a licence fee to SAMRO, giving your venue the right to use SAMRO's extensive worldwide repertoire of copyrighted musical works.

Why is this the case? Well, for one, the artists that perform in your pub or nightclub might not be singing their own material – it may be cover versions. The artists who originally wrote those tracks need to benefit, through earning Performing Rights royalties collected and distributed by a society such as SAMRO. And if the band is playing its own, self-penned material, then its members will be lucky enough to be financially rewarded twice: through their gig fee and their royalties.

Remember that the proprietor of the venue (or the event organiser) has to send SAMRO detailed "usage returns" or playlists of all musical works performed in the establishment. Do not rely on the performers to fulfill this obligation!

This data enables SAMRO to fairly calculate and distribute the royalties it has collected from licence fees, to the rights holders of the works that were used – i.e. those who wrote the music and lyrics, and the record company that published the work.

Even though you legally have to have your establishment licensed to play live or broadcast music, the most important reason is a moral one: so that those maestros who give us so much pleasure through their music are not only financially rewarded, but are encouraged to keep creating more life-changing sounds that form the soundtrack to all our lives.

Get in touch with SAMRO’s Licencing Department for more info by calling 086 154 2367.

GIG Guide

July 1: Benjamin Dube Live DVD Recording, Carnival City, Brakpan – Gauteng
Tickets from R250 @ Computicket

July 8: 4th Annual Umswenko the Experience, Winter Rose Rugby Football Stadium, Mdantsane – Eastern Cape
Tickets from R100 @ Computicket

July 8: Jaziel Brothers: Out of the Box, The Venue @ Hemingways, East London – Eastern Cape
Tickets from R120 @ Computicket

July 18: Kahn & Karen Zoid, Sand du Plessis Theatre, Bloemfontein – Free State
Tickets from R180 @ Computicket

July 20: Chris Chameleon: Bokkie Bybie Liefie, Kopanong Auditorium, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein – Free State
Tickets from R125 @ Computicket

July 21: Dan Patlansky, Kopanong Auditorium, UFS, Bloemfontein – Free State
Tickets from R130 @Computicket

July 21: Judith Sephuma: My Worship Live, Mandela Theatre at Joburg Theatre, Johannesburg – Gauteng
Tickets from R200 @ Webtickets

July 29: An Evening with The Herbie Tsoaeli Quintet, Blue Theatre at Soweto Theatre, Soweto – Gauteng
Tickets from R150 @ Webtickets