Collecting societies play a crucial role in promoting and developing the collection and distribution of music royalties. They also protect the intellectual property of music creators. 

In South Africa, the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), National Organisation of Reproduction Rights (NORM), the Composers Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO), the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) and the Performers Organisation of South Africa Trust (POSA), are copyright collecting societies whose focus is to ensure that composers, publishers and performers are compensated adequately for their creative works. 

SAMRO was established in 1961 to administer the copyright of composers, lyricists and publishers. SAMRO administers Performing Rights by collecting licence fees from music users such as broadcasters, restaurants, clubs, hotels and distributing these licence fees to composers, lyricists and publishers as royalty income.

NORM represents publishers in Mechanical Rights administration. NORM recently restructured its activities, partnering with SAMRO to set up CAPASSO which now administers Mechanical Rights.   

In July 2014, CAPASSO took over licensing the reproduction of musical works. CAPASSO is authorised, by way of mandate from its members, to issue such Mechanical Rights licences, collect the licence fees and distribute them as royalties to its members. As SAMRO no longer administers Mechanical Rights, members are urged to join CAPASSO for their Mechanical Rights administration. 

SAMPRA was established to serve the needs of copyright owners of music sound recordings, with a mandate to collect and distribute royalties to the members of the recording industry of South Africa (RiSA) wherever their recordings are broadcast, diffused or communicated to the public. SAMPRA administers Needletime Rights.

POSA is a trust that was established to administer Needletime Rights on behalf of recording artists/musicians who have assigned their Needletime Rights to SAMRO. Needletime Rights make sure performers and recording artists get paid when their music is played in public. These are the people who were in the studio playing the instruments, or singing the lyrics when the recording was made. As long as they contributed to a recorded performance that was captured on CD, tape, MP3 or any other recording device, recording artists have Needletime Rights over that recording

“The importance of registering works with the relevant collecting organisation cannot be overstated. These organisations play a crucial role in further ensuring value for the works of musicians,” says Tiyani Maluleke, SAMRO’s Marketing General Manager.

She adds that SAMRO encourages all musicians, the recording industry and performing artists to have a full understanding of the collecting bodies. “These bodies actually exist for musicians’ benefit, however a number of musicians have missed out on collections and royalties because of a lack of knowledge of the importance of registering with a collecting society,” notes Maluleke

POSA and SAMPRA have recently partnered to ensure the effective administration and distribution of Needletime Rights royalties. This partnership will improve the administration of Needletime Rights and ensure that artists and recording companies reap the full benefits of their works.