Music User - SAMRO


Music Users who play music in the course of doing business need to pay a licence fee. That means anything that is not domestic use. This includes businesses such as promoters, pubs, mobile DJs, clubs, restaurants, shopping malls and live music venues. It also extends to broadcasters such as radio and TV stations who also play music publicly.

We don’t make the rules, it’s all laid out in the Copyright Act and it is part of South African law. If the music you play isn’t written, created, performed, published and recorded by you, then it belongs to the Music Creator and you need a licence.

SAMRO helps Music Creators by licensing their works and collecting licence fees from Music Users – that’s you – and these fees are then paid to the creators as royalties! The fees differ depending on what you use the music for.


Purchasing a Music Usage Licence from SAMRO gives Music Users permission to play music publicly at their businesses or venues. The funds collected are called “licence fees”. These fees are then passed on to people who made the music as royalty income.

Not all businesses are the same, a radio station that plays dance hits is a lot different to a restaurant that makes use of background music. So different kinds of businesses need different types of licences. We’ve been doing this for a long time and there’s not much we don’t know about the way music is used and how to create licences that are fair and reasonable.


By supporting Music Creators, you’re helping to create a healthy music industry, ensuring that people who create music reap the benefits of having jot a song that you played at your establishment.

By paying your licence fees, you’re sending a positive message to Music Creators, who will be more inclined to perform at your establishment and support your business. SAMRO affiliation lends credibility to your business and can add to your profile when included on your websites and in marketing campaigns.


Get started with your licence application by following our step-by-step application process

To apply for a licence, you first need to complete some paperwork and give us a few documents.


Any venue or business that plays background, recorded, broadcast or live music in public must get a music usage licence from SAMRO. This includes businesses and people such as the following:

  • Radio
  • Pubs
  • Live music venues
  • Shopping malls
  • Cinemas
  • Spaza shops
  • Car washes
  • Trains
  • Non-profit organisations
  • Concerts Exhibitions
  • Any other establishment that plays music in public
  • Television broadcasters
  • Nightclubs
  • Restaurants
  • Retail stores
  • Hairdressers
  • Shebeens
  • Mobile
  • DJs
  • Minibus taxis
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Community-based organisations
  • Music festivals
  • Any public show that makes use of music


Royalties gathered through licence fees are passed on to SAMRO Music Creators. Many people play a role in the creation of every piece of music, from songwriters and composers to recording artists and music publishers – they all play a role in creating the final musical product.

The information we collect about the usage and value of every musical work assist us to fairly calculate the royalties that are passed on to the different players. SAMRO deducts an administrative fee for the work that we do. We’re completely transparent about how our fees are managed and shared.


SAMRO offers two basic types of licences for Music Users to make use of the protected works of our members. They are Broadcasting and General Licensing.

Broadcasting Licences

SAMRO issues Broadcasting Licences to broadcasters such as TV and Radio broadcasters to enable them to broadcast music. The licence fees are calculated on an individual basis according to the size and nature of the broadcaster. The big players pay more than – say – a small community radio station. So it works out fairly in the end.

General Licences

Licensing covers every other type of Music User. That’s your clubs, bars, malls, restaurants, music venues and other establishments that play music. Again, we assess your licence fees fairly, according to the nature of your business using our knowledge and experience to arrive at the most appropriate fee structure.

In both cases, as a first step, a SAMRO consultant will visit your business and conduct a site inspection and an assessment of the nature of your operation. The consultant will take many things into account including the use of the music, the seating capacity and audience size that can be expected to benefit from the use of the music.


SAMRO only collects licence fees in respect of Performing Rights. The other rights that vest in the musical work are collected by other organisations.


Performing Rights are the right to perform music in public.   Only people who created the work are eligible to earn royalties related to Performing Rights. It is for this reason that SAMRO members are composers, authors, lyricists or music publishers. Our members earn royalties when their musical creations are performed in public – for example when they are played by a SAMRO licensed broadcaster, promoter or any other licensed establishment.  




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What is a Music Usage Licence?

Purchasing a Music Usage Licence from SAMRO gives Music Users permission to play music publicly at their business or venue.

Who needs a music usage licence from SAMRO?

Any venue, business or person that plays background, recorded, broadcast or live music in public must get a music usage licence from SAMRO.

Why is it important to get a music usage licence for my business or venue?

Paying for your music usage licence is good for everyone. It’s good for businesses who enjoy the positive effect that music has on the atmosphere of your establishment.

What are SAMRO’s banking details for the payment of licence fees?

Standard Bank
Account number: 200332376
Branch code: 004805

I have a SAMRO licence, so why do I also need to pay SAMPRA (the South African Music Performance Rights Association)?

SAMRO is copyright administration business, dealing primarily with the administration of music composers’ and authors’ Performing Rights. On the other hand, SAMPRA is a collective licensing society of copyright owners of music sound recordings. Its mandate is to collect and distribute royalties to the members of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) whenever their recordings are broadcast, diffused or communicated to the public.

I pay my TV licence – do I still require a SAMRO licence?

Yes, you do. Your TV licence is for the personal use of the TV signal at home. It doesn’t cover TVs used in business like shops and restaurants. You still need a SAMRO licence to play music in public.

How do I cancel my SAMRO licence?

Please email or fax us a cancellation letter telling us why you want to cancel your SAMRO Licence. We’ll need to send a SAMRO inspector to check that your business is no longer using protected music.

How do I buy a SAMRO licence for a mobile disco, shop, restaurant, etc?

Please call 011 712 8000 or email Our sales consultants will provide you with the correct application form to complete.

I bought a business that has an existing SAMRO licence – how do I go about changing it to my name?

Please call 011 712 8000 or email Our licensing consultants will provide you with the correct application form to complete.