Johannesburg, 05 September – Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) and South African Performing Rights Association (SAMPRA) have reached an agreement on the administration and distribution of Needletime Rights royalties. This agreement has resolved the long standing dispute between SAMPRA and the Performers Organisation of South Africa (POSA Trust), a subsidiary of SAMRO, on the sharing of Needletime Rights royalties between record companies and performers (recording artists). 

In terms of this agreement, SAMPRA and POSA Trust will merge to form a single Needletime Rights society that represents both record companies and performers. This society, to be known as SAMPRA (will this still be SAMPRA?) , will have two chambers: the record companies’ chamber and the performers’ chamber. The two chambers will have equal powers and equal representation on the board of the new organisation. 

The formation of the new a new society that has in principle been approved by the Registrar of Copyright, Ms Astrid Ludin. She granted formal accreditation to the joint society after various formal requirements had been met. The merger is also in line with the recommendation of the Copyright Review Commission, that there should be one society per set of rights.

Keith Lister, Chairperson of SAMPRA’s Management Board, said: “The agreement between SAMPRA and SAMRO is intended to take us much further than just resolving issues about needletime.  If anything, the long standing dispute over needletime has increased our resolve to work together to generate revenues for the music industry as a whole from the licensing of music recordings and the music compositions embodied in them”. 

Sipho Dlamini, CEO of SAMRO, said: “This agreement will ensure that Needletime Rights royalties are finally distributed to deserving record companies and recording artists. We as SAMRO are very excited that recording artists, who are represented by POSA Trust, will reap the fruits of their toil, and that, in addition to Performing Rights royalties, those recording artists who are also composers will have an additional income stream in the form of Needletime Rights royalties”.

Ms Ludin the Commissioner of the CIPC was very pleased with the latest developments and she is hopeful for a smooth running regime in which all parties will receive what is due to them.   She said that it is also positive that the new society will have no exclusions in regard to membership. The CIPC will closely monitor not only the distribution of the royalties that have been collected and also future collections, but all area of governance in the new society.