The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) is pleased to announce that it has achieved its biggest royalty distribution in the Radio and General category to date, which totalled R147 million in the 2023 financial year. Additionally, the organisation also distributed R73.8 million in royalties in the Television category.
The organisation says the record distribution is evidence that its strategy and efforts to license music users and collect licencing fees from them is paying off. SAMRO would thus like to thank these music users for their contributions, which make up an additional income stream for SAMRO members, who are composers, authors and publishers.
SAMRO administers the performing rights of its members and currently represents 137,313 members, including active, prospective, and heirs. Of these, only 24,650 are earning members which are Associate and Full Members.
This year’s record distribution in the Radio and General category follows a royalty distribution of R121 million in 2022, R123 million in 2021, R141 million in 2020 and R131 million in 2019. The Distribution identification rate for the radio and general distribution has also been the highest in the organisation’s history in 2023 at 86%, up from last year’s 81.6%, 82.5% in 2021, 85% in 2020 and 84.2% in 2019.
There will shortly be a second sequence of royalty distribution in the Television category, where SAMRO is hoping the documentation of musical works will improve. Documentation is essential in minimising the occurrence of undocumented works, which occur due to some broadcasters and production houses not submitting cue sheets and some members not notifying the organisation of their new works being used. The organisation always seeks to enhance its identification rate and documentation to achieve higher royalties and distributions for its members. To achieve this goal, SAMRO calls upon broadcasters and production companies to submit cue sheets and request that Members notify SAMRO of their new musical works. By doing so, they can significantly enhance their identification rate, resulting in all SAMRO Members receiving the royalties they rightfully deserve.
While SAMRO is grateful to the music users who have come on board and are paying their licence fees, it urges those who have not yet done so, to acquire a Music Usage Licence as soon as possible. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it is also a legal requirement for music users who play music in the course of doing business.
Healthy music ecosystem
By supporting music creators, music users can help to create a healthy music industry and ensure that those who create music reap the benefits of their creation.
Acquiring a music usage licence from SAMRO gives music users permission to play and use music publicly at their businesses or venues. The funds collected in the form of licence fees are then passed on to SAMRO members as royalty income.
Music users include businesses such as digital service providers such as streaming services, pubs, mobile DJs, clubs, restaurants, shopping malls and live music venues, among others. This classification also extends to broadcasters such as Radio and TV stations, who also play music publicly.
SAMRO’s members, who are composers and songwriters, assign the rights of their musical works to the organisation to administer. SAMRO, in turn, uses the assignments to license individuals and businesses that use music for business or commercial purposes.
Rewarding music creators
SAMRO collects these licence fees from music users, which are paid out to members in the form of royalties during regular distribution cycles. By following simple licensing procedures and paying the appropriate fees, individuals and businesses can use musical works administered by SAMRO. This will ensure that creators are rewarded for the public use of their intellectual property.
Obtaining a license for music usage is a straightforward process. SAMRO offers an online registration system that is easy to use, streamlined, and highly effective for users.
The latest round of royalty distribution to its members is SAMRO’s way of reaffirming its commitment to supporting local music creators. The goal of achieving higher royalty and distribution rates is underpinned by continuous efforts by SAMRO to introduce efficiency measures that will ultimately translate into putting more money in the pockets of its members.
SAMRO would like to assure its composers, authors, and publishers that they can rest assured that SAMRO is a proactive and innovative organisation that is always looking for new ways to protect their interests and ensure that they are compensated accurately and fully for their work.