Beat Bulletin February 2015

I would like to start by congratulating South African flautist, SAMRO member and composer Wouter Kellerman and composer Ricky Kej for winning a Grammy Award in the category Best New Age Album for their album Winds of Samsara. This is a great achievement and one worth celebrating in a big way. February being the month of love, in this issue, we speak to Donald Moatshe about how he celebrated this year’s Valentine’s Day, and his plans for the year ahead.

With two recent big global court case victories involving royalties still fresh on all our minds, we delve into what many consider to be the complex sphere of copyright with our article on exploring the world of copyright. Our big interview this month is with Danger from the superstar kwaito group Big Nuz who have quickly become a music phenomenon. He talks about their music and their experiences in the music industry.

We hope that you have sent in your entries for the Wawela Music Awards as the award entries for 2015 close on 28 February 2015. If you missed this year’s chance to enter the awards, do not despair; you can always keep a look out for the opening of the 2016 award entries.

For suggestions and a chance to get profiled in the next issue of our newsletter, email We look forward to your input, suggestions and feedback.

Enjoy the month ahead, and as we journey into the year 2015, let’s look at where we can improve ourselves, in our careers, at home, our communities and areas of influence.

In the words of the legendary Ray Charles: “Music to me is like breathing, I don’t get tired of music and I don’t get tired of breathing”

Remember to dream big and keep creating.


Yours in music,

Sipho Dlamini

Chief Executive Officer

Two recent global copyright battles should be of interest locally: Tom Petty vs Sam Smith & Sly Stone vs his former management.

Two recent global copyright battles should be of interest locally:  Tom Petty vs Sam Smith & Sly Stone vs his former management. One was   the Tom Petty victory in a case against a song made popular by Sam Smith: Stay with me. His win saw the artists reaching an agreement in which Smith would pay Petty royalties from the song.

Ageing funk singer Sly Stone also triumphed in a legal battle against his former manager and attorney on the grounds that he was misled into signing an agreement that meant all his royalties were diverted.

This has no doubt left the two artists extremely glad that copyright existed to protect their creative works.

In South Africa, intellectual property entitlement has been extended to add new creations and other works that may not have been known in the past years. Under the South African Copyright Act there are many different types of works mentioned and each type of work is eligible for copyright if it is included in the act.

According to the South African Copyright Act , the following works, when original, are entitled for copyright protection: 

  1. Musical works (whether written, or recorded on a device).
  2. Films and videos (story ideas written down for musical videos).
  3. Sound recordings (e.g. the mix of beats or instruments on a CD).
  4. Music published online through the use of iTunes, YouTube or SoundCloud (if it is shared by the original musician

Here are some responses from SAMRO on frequently asked questions on copyright:

Q: How do you copyright your musical works? 

A: Copyrighting your music is simple. To copyright your creative work, all you need to do is put your original music and lyrics on paper, a CD, MP3 player or even a DVD and there you have it, your work is entitled to copyright protection. Once you have completed your work and put it in a DVD or a CD, you can list it with institutions such as the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) to administer your Performing Rights and Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) to administer your Mechanical Rights.

Q: What does the Copyright Act,  entitle me to? 

A: The Copyright Act ensures that as the owner of the copyright, you have the exclusive rights to allow or even disallow the following: 

•The reproduction of your original work.

•The distribution of your work.

•The performance of your work.

•The public display of your work.

It is important to remember that copyright implies that there are financial benefits to whoever has the right to the copyrighted material. These financial benefits are royalty income.

We as SAMRO, collect licence fees from music users on behalf of our members and then distribute them as royalty income to the deserving SAMRO members. However, this benefit is only for those members whose works are active, in other words they have been performed or used in public. You cannot receive royalty income if your music is not played.


Two recent global copyright battles should be of interest locally: Tom Petty vs Sam Smith & Sly Stone vs his former management.

Q: How long have you been in the music industry and how did you get into the industry? 

A: I have been singing since I was in primary school. My mom was a choir mistress, so I was always exposed to music. When I got to high school, I was the guy who was known to have a voice. I think that is what made me very popular, other than my good marks, of course. By the time I was in tertiary, I knew that the engineering course I was studying would go to waste, so I made up my mind that I would go in to music. I was in a music group called COB, under Oupa Sithela’s leadership. I think that is where I learned most of what I know now, the art of singing. Professionally, I could say I have been singing since 2005/2006 when I released an album with Muzo, the group that I was with at the time.

Q: Old school R&B and Soul as done by the fathers of soul Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye or the modern type of Urban R&B by Usher and Chris Brown – which do you prefer?

A: I listen to all of it, and of course, one can never talk about R&B without mentioning the legends that started the movement, the likes of Eric Benet, Joe, Boyz II Men (my all-time favourites) and many others who carried the torch. The Ushers and the Chris Browns added a different spin to it, I suppose partly because they had to stay relevant, but also to evolve as the sound of R&B has evolved.

Q:  What traits make you unique as a performing artist? 

A: I think I have paid attention to many aspects of my brand in general, and not just the sound. The song writing and great melodies are all fused to bring the listener that infectious sound. My voice is also recognisable and distinct, which also helps, and makes me who I am.

Q: What inspires the content of your songs? 

A: My latest album Black & White was entirely written by me and Bonga Percy Vilakazi, who is also my manager. The content of the album is generally inspired by love and everything else that happens in love – the good and bad, as well as the complexities of a relationship.

Q:   What have been some of your biggest learnings about the music industry? 

A: You have to be hands on in everything that involves your brand. Yes, employ people that you trust, who will take care of your affairs, but do not lose sight of what’s going on. At the end of the day, it’s your career and your name.

Q: How has the industry received your music? 

A: The industry has been generally kind to me. I think people recognise hard work, and they show appreciation by buying the music.

Q: What’s your favourite love song of all time, and why? 

A: This is a very tricky one. The two songs that come to mind are Eric Benet’s I wanna be loved and Boyz II Men’s On bended knee; beautifully-written songs with killer melodies.

Q: How did you spend your Valentine’s Day this year, and is Valentine’s Day a big deal for you? 

A: I was working on Valentine’s Day. I am known for singing love songs, this is always a very busy day for me, so I usually work on Valentine’s, performing at Valentine’s events (which I really appreciate).

Q: Do you think having a web and social media presence is fundamental for your career as a musician and why? 

A: Oh definitely. That goes without saying. I recently sold over 1.1 million downloads of songs from my Train of love album. There’s no doubt in my mind that had the different digital platforms not have been available, I would not have reached this milestone.

Q: How was 2014 for you as a musician and what are your plans for 2015?

A: 2014 really was a great year in many ways, and it has inspired me to want to do a lot more and achieve more in 2015. The plan for this year is to do a nationwide tour and carry on promoting my album, which was released in 2014. It still has legs, with a lot of great songs.

Q: How long have you been a Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) member and what has been your experience with the organisation? 

A: I have been a SAMRO member for as long as I have been a musician. SAMRO has always ensured that all royalties owed to me are always paid and for that I am grateful.



Technology has had an impact on musicians in the 21st century and it sometimes affects musicians’ ability to make a living.

Think about how and where you listen to music nowadays. How do you access music? Think iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, WhatsApp, Mp3 Skull and the many other online and social media spaces where music is shared illegally. How do you save this music? Is it on a disc, an Mp3 player, iPod, smartphone, or an external hard drive?

Technology has had an impact on musicians in the 21st century and it sometimes affects musicians’ ability to make a living. Challenges faced by musicians in this digital age include:

• Piracy: Musicians are selling fewer CD’s at music stores. Piracy has forced many musicians to move to digital spheres such as iTunes. However, iTunes does not stop people from sharing the music album with friends and family through the use of Bluetooth or memory sticks.

•Lack of exposure to audiences: There are very few platforms where musicians can showcase their talents to the audience. After all, unless they are popular with the audience, they will not grow.

•Lack of funding: Often recording companies don’t provide musicians with sufficient funds, so they rely on sponsorships. But if they don’t get exposure, they cannot get sponsors.

No one knows better than a musician how important it is to be paid for your time and creativity; but believe it or not very few of the people or venue owners who use music understand the impact that using music without paying for it has on music creators.


It is with great honour that we congratulate SAMRO member, Wouter Kellerman upon his recent win at the 57th Grammy Awards for his album Winds of Samsara, a collaboration with Indian composer and producer Ricky Kej.

At the age of 10, Kellerman said he would like to win a Grammy one day and 43 years later, the acclaimed flautist has won a Grammy Award in the Best New Age category. The 57th Grammy Awards took place at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California on 8 February 2015.

Speaking after receiving the award and arriving back in South Africa, Kellerman said: “It was just amazing. It was a lifelong, dream-come- true for me. After all the years of hard work, it’s great to come back and be acknowledged by your peers. The Grammy is the highest award you can ever win in music. I am just over the moon.”

Kellerman has been playing the flute most of his life. He started playing the flute at the age of 10. It was only in 1981 that he became active in the music industry.

Kellerman and Kej spent two years working on Winds of Samsara which includes collaborations with 120 musicians from five continents, such as Fiona Joy from Australia and Michael Lewin from America, which is a tribute to the late former SA President Nelson Mandela and preeminent Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.

The album reflects the legacies of Mandela and Gandhi’s rise above time, the impact they had on civil rights and equality – the attributes by which they are remembered today. Winds of Samsara truly captures what these late heroes stood for.

Kellerman and Kej met about three years ago in Los Angeles. A conversation which started off with just the admiration of each other’s work, led to each composer talking about the composition they had created for the fathers of their respective countries.


We caught up with Danger from the kwaito super group Big Nuz to talk about their journey to success and what it takes to right a hit song.

Q: Whenever you release an album, it is always something catchy like ‘Inazo’ ‘Umlilo’. How do you come up with the ideas for the songs? 

A: We try to make sure that our lyrics are different all the time. We also use different producers so that our songs always come out different.  Different producers always bring new ideas to the table.

Q: Your album Made in Africa received double gold and platinum. How did you guys make this happen? 

A: I think it’s our company and all the hard work that went into putting the album together.  Our fans really played a huge role in our success, as they are the ones who listen to our music and buy it. We are grateful to our fans.

Q: Apart from the fact that you guys are from Africa, what significance does the title Made in Africa hold? 

A: Our brand has grown and expanded into the rest of Africa. It is because of the people of our continent that we have had so much success. When we perform overseas, the people who come out and support us are generally Africans that live abroad. Not just South Africans, because when we go to places like Nigeria, Malawi and Kenya, we get great support from the local people there. Support from the people of Africa has been phenomenal.

Q: How does the creative process begin with a new album? 

A: When we go into studio, we throw parties during our recordings. We always get the studio full and lively for most of our recordings. We get everyone involved, even strangers. It’s always about enjoying the music, and we feel that if we enjoy the creative process and are able to dance to our music, our fans will react to it the same way.

Q: Big Nuz have become the epitome of ‘new kwaito’. What are your thoughts on this?  

A: We owe it all to the people who came before us, people like Mandoza, Mdu Masilela and others. They are the people who paved the path for us to take kwaito forward. It is because of them that we are able to keep kwaito alive and we are grateful for the opportunity to represent what kwaito is about today.

Q: What has contributed to your success as a group? 

A: We do not want fame to go to our heads. As people in a group, you have to be able to understand each other. It is also great when you are able to work together before the money comes, because you understand each other’s situations. And if the other starts to get agitated, you have to relax.

Q: What was the hardest part of the year 2014 for you as musicians?

A: Piracy! We need to have everyone stand up against piracy: musicians and fans alike. The fact that our music is pirated so easily is hindering our progress, and we don’t know if our government is behind us or not, because piracy continues to cripple this industry. Not much is being done.

Q: What role has SAMRO played in your career?

A: SAMRO has played a big part in enabling our growth, by taking away the administrative role of collecting royalties on our behalf, which has helped a great deal in enabling us to focus on making music.

It is important for artists to become SAMRO members or a member of a recognised music administration or collections body, as I don’t think that any individual can track when and where and how many times their song gets played in order for them to make collections on their own. It is just not possible. Those who are not members are missing out on getting paid for airplay of their music.


The Performers’ Organisation of South Africa Trust (POSA) commenced the distribution of Needletime rights royalties to artists whose tracks have been used by music users

The first distribution, for 2009 royalties, was done on 23 December 2014. Subsequent distributions, for the years between 2010 and 2012, were done in January and February 2015.

POSA has successfully processed royalties and has paid featured artists as well as session musicians featured in the tracks that earned royalties. The following are the percentages, per distribution, that have been achieved (where royalties were successfully allocated to deserving performers per track):


2009(1) 91.01%;



201183.35%; and


The average percentage of processed royalties is 85.17.


The amounts that have not yet been processed and distributed are those belonging to tracks that have not been registered with POSA. POSA has been tracing and contacting the relevant featured artists requesting them to register their tracks, and royalties are processed as soon as tracks are registered and payment is also effected immediately.

It is also important to state that the SAMRO board of Directors and the POSA board of Trustees took a decision that, for these distributions, POSA would not charge any administration fee. This means that nothing has been deducted from the performers’ royalties.


Here is an awesome list of events lined up for the coming month.

Metro FM Music Awards 

The 14th Metro FM Music Awards recognises South African musicians for their great work during 2014. The awards ceremony will feature South African musicians such as Casper Nyovest and DJ Dimplez, among others.

Venue: Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC)

Date: 28 February 2015

Ticket prices: From R200

100% Pure Kwaito 

It is the celebration of 20 years of Kwaito music. Remember the legends of Kwaito such as Thebe, Bob Mabena, and Arthur Mafokate? This is the event that celebrates their legacy. The event will feature Kwaito music of the 90s and early 2000s.

Venue:  Bassline, 10 Henry Nxumalo Street -, Gauteng

Date: 07 March 2015

Ticket prices: R80 – R500

JHB Philharmonic Orchestra 

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra is Johannesburg’s only philharmonic orchestra, presenting 60 symphony concerts during the course of 10 months. This event has been active for 16 years.

Witness the amazing talent of our local musicians and admire the great compositions that have been passed on to us throughout the years.

Venue: Linder Auditorium

Date:  25 February – 19 March 2015 (First Season)

Ticket prices:  R250- R330

Joburg Picnic Jazz Festival 

It is a music event with meaning. The event is in support of no violence against women and children, featuring the intentionally acclaimed Chris Walker and South African musicians Tshepo Tshola, Bhudaza, Joe Nina as well as other upcoming musicians.

If you fancy jazz music and also want to join in the awareness against violent crimes against women and children, this is an event for you.

Venue: Ruimsig Stadium

Date: 20 March 2015

Ticket prices:  R250- R1000

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