What is undocumented works (Undoc)?
Undocumented works arise when musical data cannot be adequately verified and successfully matched to its rightful owners. Works categorised as undocumented remain as such until the requisite information is provided in order to legitimately process the claim.
Undocumented works include music used in the broadcast of radio or television programs, adverts or motion pictures where relevant details according to the required cue sheet or sound clip and metadata templates have not been supplied.
This means that, works classified as undocumented cannot be processed during the scheduled royalty distribution payouts due to incomplete information that links them to their rightful owners. However, once these works have been identified, validated and claimed by the rightful owners, the accrued royalties for that particular work will be released during the next distribution cycle.
Not being able to successfully identify musical works results in the following:
Delayed distributions – SAMRO not being unable to process distributions related to the works during the primary distribution cycle.
Undocumented works – Members works being in the undocumented pool until such a time that they are processed.
SAMRO Members need to note that even after declaring and notifying undocumented works, SAMRO will go through a validation process before any royalties will be distributed.
What are the contributors of undocumented works?
Members not notifying their new musical works, indicating share splits and all correct rights-holders of the works.
Music Users such as broadcasters, audio recording and post-production studios, production music suppliers which provide insufficient information (playlist) to SAMRO.
Incomplete cue sheets detailing the music played during TV and radio programs as well as advertisements.
What can be done to prevent undocumented works?
Music creators (song writers, composers and publishers) responsibility to prevent undocumented works:
Rights-holders should ensure the following is known to SAMRO prior to sending the works to music users, such as broadcasters and Digital Streaming Platforms (DSP) or prior to any primary distribution run:
Notify all new musical works as soon as created or as soon as the music is in rotation.
Submit all sync agreements signed with advertising agencies for music used in adverts.
Timely submit accurate cue sheets, sound clips and associated metadata
Music Users (Licensees) responsibility to prevent undocumented works
SAMRO members’ royalties depend upon accurate cue sheets, sound clips and their associated metadata to avoid any delayed payment and ensuring the maximisation of accurate royalty distributions.
In addition to paying a music user license, it is an equally important requirement to submit cue sheets, sound clips, and their associated metadata (where available) for the identification of all music used.
Music Users must pay attention to the following:
Submit all relevant cue sheets, sound clips and the associated metadata related to all musical works used on their platforms for ease of identification of all music used.
Ensure that all reports submitted have accurately captured the correct information of the rights-holders. This includes correctly spelling the rights-holder’s names, the title of the musical works, the duration of the musical works, title of the TV and radio program and advert.
What is the process of claiming musical works that are classified as undocumented?
Rights holders can notify SAMRO by completing a notification form which is accessible on the website. Please click here to access the notification works form
Rights holders can further notify works on the SAMRO portal.
Additionally, SAMRO will soon reactivate the undoc portal and members will be notified once it is reactivated.