Royalty Distribution

SAMRO is firmly committed to the distribution of royalties and ensuring that its members are duly and accurately compensated for the public performance of their musical works at licensed establishments.


The Performing Rights Royalty distribution objectives in the different distribution categories are aimed at fairly distributing royalties to the correct Rights Holders, who are:




This is achieved by licensing businesses that use music in their business for public broadcast.

The license fees are then distributed as royalties in accordance with the received playlist per licensed entity. 

This is done by way of calculated royalty allocations, calculated per second to represent a fair value of those rights administered by SAMRO relative to actual performances or usage of musical works and licence fees received.

For more on SAMRO Performing Rights Royalty Distribution Rules, please download the rule book here:

Royalty Distribution Rules

Distribution Categories

SAMRO distributes royalties in six main categories, which are Radio & General, Live, Television, Film (Cinematographic Film), Foreign Royalties, and Mobile & Internet Transmission (MIT).
SAMRO's Royalty Distributions follow a Board of Directors-approved schedule that is issued yearly. These royalties are paid about twelve (12) months following the broadcast. For instance, royalties for musical performances this year will be disbursed in the next year.

SAMRO endeavors to compensate its members based on their musical works' performances by licensed music users who pay SAMRO a license fee. Adjustments to Royalty Distributions may be necessary after initial payments have been made during the Primary Distribution.

Such adjustments will be processed and paid during the Secondary Distribution. The following factors necessitate royalty adjustments after the Primary Distribution:
  • Incorrect or incomplete data notified by members within a Royalty Distribution period
  • Late submission of playlists from licensees, which cannot be included in the Primary Distribution.
The Royalty Distributions are subdivided into Distribution categories and Distribution sub-categories as follows:

Distribution Categories and Sub-Categories:


  • Public Service
  • Private Services
  • Community Services


  • Recorded Music
  • Diffusion Services


  • Live Music
  • Shows


  • Public Services
  • Private Service
  • Re-Broadcast Transmissions
  • Diffusion Services


  • Cinemas


  • All categories

Mobile & Internet Transmission (MIT)

  • Ringtone Preview
  • Ring back tones
  • Download Preview
  • Internet radio
  • Internet television
  • Video sharing
  • Streaming services
The licence fees received from TV stations are distributed for TV public performances and the fees received from radio stations are distributed out for public radio performances and so forth.

How SAMRO calculates royalties

Royalty allocations are calculated on a music-second basis, per international norms and standards established by CISAC.

The Net Distributable Revenue (License Fee) for each Distribution channel is divided by the accumulated music seconds per Distribution channel to obtain a Revenue Unit Factor (Rand per music second factor) per Distribution channel and music second.

The accumulated seconds for each participating Work of Music in the Distribution channel is then multiplied by the relevant Revenue Unit Factor (Royalty Unit factor) to calculate the Royalty Distribution amount per Work for the appropriate Distribution channel.
Revenue Point Factor 
The Revenue Unit Factor (Rand per music-second factor) is determined as follows:
Revenue Unit Factor =
Net Distributable Revenue per Distribution Channel
Total seconds of music per Distribution Channel
Revenue Unit Factor × Duration song play on broadcast ÷ share split = Royalty payment
Net Distributable Revenue per Distribution Channel - This means Net Licensing Revenue. Every broadcaster pays a different net licensing fee. 

Duration song play on broadcast - The value is provided by broadcasters to SAMRO, this is the duration of the song broadcast. 

Share split - A share split is the composition ownership split that was agreed upon with other musicians before registration.

Cue Sheets

A cue sheet is required by SAMRO to pay royalties for music used in television and cinema.
When SAMRO distributes royalties for musical performances in audio-visual media, a cue sheet and a schedule of the music that appeared in a movie or television show is required. It is prepared by the production firm or broadcaster and given to SAMRO.

This is an essential step in ensuring that SAMRO members are compensated accurately for the music used in film and television by filing a cue sheet. If cue sheets are submitted not via the broadcaster, then an indemnity form needs to be signed and submitted with the cue sheet.

Undocumented Works

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:

Music Works:

Notify all new musical works as soon as created or as soon as the music is in rotation.

Sync agreements:

Submit all sync agreements signed with advertising agencies for music used in adverts.

Cue sheets:

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:

Cue Sheets:

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.

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