Beat Bulletin September 2017

Dear SAMRO Member

October is almost upon us! ’Tis the season to be jolly… well, almost! We are approaching that exciting time of the year – a very busy period for musicians, with plenty of gigs, function bookings, live performances and jamming to the best of new releases. Will we be ushering the New Year with your music? Get going, put your music out there and don’t let anybody tell you it can’t be done.

As you go out and about promoting your music, be sure to take care of the business of music and notify us of all your live performances. With that said, preparations to take your music to the level should never stop.

In this issue we look at Helena Hettema, an award-winning cabaret artist, singer, songwriter and actress. Hettema recently launched her new album in celebration of her 21 years in the industry at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria.

With the steady rise of South Africa’s film industry, we shed light on the music rights that filmmakers should be aware of. Still on the topic of movie music, we have a chat with Rashid Lanie, a successful film composer, about his journey in local film scoring.

Also, George Hattingh, the Academy of Sound Engineering’s Director: Marketing & Communications, gives us an overview of the music courses offered by the academy that you can take up to sharpen your craft and acquire multiple skills to use in the market.

Finally, get to understand a bit more about music publishing with Jonathan Shaw.

Don’t forget to look at the list of upcoming events for October and remember to continue supporting South African music.


Tiyani Maluleke
GM: Marketing and Communications


With the steady rise of South Africa’s film industry, filmmakers need to be reminded and made aware of the legal implications that come with the use of music in a movie.

Can you imagine a movie without music? Music is an important component that enhances the visuals, adding to the emotional dimension of a film. Many composers/producers have made a career for themselves writing music for film and television. Today, more and more South African musicians are seeing the value of licensing their hit songs for movie soundtracks or writing film scores.

But what is it that filmmakers need to know about the intricacies of licensing their music for film productions? There are four main types of music that are used in film, namely: the title music, mood/dramatic underscore, the character theme and the source music.

The title music is used during the credits at the beginning or end of a film or TV programme, and instills a sense of expectation in the audience, setting up the place, the period, and the style or genre. Mood music powerfully establishes or supports the atmosphere of a scene.

The character theme is music that is connected to the various characters in the film, and the source music is when the origin of the music is part of the setting and is visible on the screen (such as a character turning on a radio or singing along to a karaoke machine).

Should you wish to use a piece of music, you will need to get in touch with the publisher to investigate who owns the rights. You will find that the rights of a song you want to use for your film or programme are held by the artist, artist’s record label, record producer, the songwriter, publisher, the owner of the master for any samples in the song, the publisher that owns the song that was sampled, and the list goes on.

It is extremely important to evaluate the song’s owners and popularity prior to including it in the film. Keep in mind that the more artists, songwriters, publishers and so on that are involved, the more approvals and money will be required for the use of the song. Once you’ve determined who owns the publishing and the master rights, you must contact them separately and ask for permission to use the song.

If your budget for acquiring music that’s already been released is tight, you might have to consider commissioning a composer or use up-and-coming talent not yet signed to a label to write music for your film. Another alternative route is to use library music. This option is more financially viable because these music libraries have vast catalogues of pre-cleared tracks that you can access at an affordable rate.

So, what do you need to get this music cleared? There are two types of licences that are potentially needed for each song that you include in your film:

  • A synchronisation licence. A “synch” licence allows you to use the underlying music composition of the song. The songwriters, composers or their publishers grant this licence.
  • The master use licence. This particular licence is granted by the artist’s record label and gives the film company the right to use the recording of the song. In the event that the artist is unsigned, this licence is granted by the artist.

This is “music licensing for films” in its simplest form. There are many more factors that may need to be considered and the licensing process can get much more complex. In any event, it is always best to consult an attorney or someone who has had experience with music licensing to assist you in getting the relevant permissions to use the music.


Award-winning cabaret artist, singer, songwriter and actress Helena Hettema recently launched her new album, 21 Plus (2017), on stage at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria in September.

The “plus” refers to the fact that it has actually been 22 years since her first CD, Fool’s Gold, was released to critical acclaim.

At the time, a video of the title track, about the poverty in evidence in the streets of Egoli, was made and aired by SABC2 – as was ‘Touch of Green’, with lyrics in Sesotho, isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans, about conserving the planet.

The memorable show covered the singer-songwriter’s favourites, from the first songs she wrote such as ‘Skadudans’, ‘Papermen’, ‘Fool’s Gold’, ‘Mother of Mine’ and ‘Tolbos in die Wind’ to more recent compositions such as ‘Silly Cyber Tango Dans’, an Afrikaans/English song about the superficiality of the cyber world and the fickleness of its users.

Hettema dedicated her show to three people who have shared her life and stage: André Wessels, her pianist of seven years, who passed away in 2015 and for whom she composed the music of ‘Strength for the Day’ (lyrics by Annie Flint); a close associate and friend, singer/songwriter Eugene Vermaak, who died last June; and her beloved father who sang duets with her, Jan Hettema, who died tragically last year too.

She paid tribute to her father with the song ‘A Thousand Winds that Blow’ (based on the Mary Elizabeth Frye poem Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep), for which she wrote the music earlier this year.

During her illustrious career, Hettema has been nominated for two SAMAs; has received an honorary degree from her alma mater, the University of Pretoria, for her contribution to the performing arts; and the SABC2 Geraas Award for best solo female artist for her CD Divided Heart.

Get your copy of her new album, 21 Plus (2017), out now.


He didn’t compete for the spotlight with the film’s stars, Pearl Thusi and Thabo Rametsi, but Rashid Lanie, who scored the South African feature film Kalushi, did exactly what he was meant to do. He composed a score that never overpowered the on-screen talent, but enhanced their performances.

Lanie is a pianist, composer, producer and recording artist who has worked with performers including Paul Simon, Hugh Masekela, Bobby Womack and Jonathan Butler. He perhaps most recognised for his composition ‘The People Want Mandela’, which he worked on with Ray Phiri, Jennifer Ferguson and Victor Ntoni, to celebrate Madiba’s release from prison.

Rashid moved to Los Angeles from South Africa in 1994, armed with scholarships to the University of Southern California and the Musicians’ Institute in Hollywood. He still lives between both countries.

He and director Mandla Dube met “nine or 10 years” before they would begin working together on the script for Kalushi – the acclaimed biopic on late freedom fighter Solomon “Kalushi” Mahlangu.

But when the project finally got off the ground, Dube surprised Lanie by involving him in the process from the get-go, something the latter says he’s rarely experienced in South Africa.

The most important aspect in their relationship was trust. Lanie’s asset was his vision. He recounted one incident after watching early scenes of the film with Dube.

“When I first saw the first scenes of Solly carrying Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue album [Kalushi loved Miles Davis], which is his swansong album – and one of the greatest jazz albums released – I said: ‘I don’t think we should use that visual – let’s change it.’ When Solly walks to the gallows, it is 52 steps to the gallows. Five plus two is seven. Did you know Miles Davis also has an album called Seven Steps to Heaven?”

Lanie continued: “A lot of it [the thought that goes into a film’s scoring] is subliminal, but important nonetheless. That wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t involved early on – if Mandla hadn’t insisted I be involved.” As a result, in the film, Kalushi is now seen carrying the Seven Steps to Heaven LP.

He also mentions how important “spotting” is when considering a film’s score. It is a process that involves the director, editor and composer sitting together to watch the visuals in order to decide where the music and other sound effects will be placed to enrich the drama and evoke emotion from an audience.


The music industry is competitive and fast-paced, and to succeed requires not only passion and talent but skill too. George Hattingh, Director: Marketing & Communications at the Academy of Sound Engineering, gives us an overview of the music courses offered by this accredited private higher education institution that you can take up to sharpen your craft and acquire multiple skills to use in the market.

Question: Tell us a bit about the academy. How did it come about?
The Academy of Sound Engineering was established in 1997 by the late George Hattingh Snr, who ran the academy until his passing in 2007. He saw a need for formal education in this sector that he had been working in for plus-minus 30 years at that stage, and took the opportunity to engage with the education industry and to write a curriculum for what was at that stage a two-year diploma qualification in sound engineering.

Q: You have been operational for some time now. How has the journey been so far? Are you seeing a growth in student intake?
A: In 2005, the academy evolved from providing lectures, curriculum and content for education facilities to becoming a direct provider to the public, and in 2006 we took our first intake of full-time students for training into the original two-year diploma in sound engineering. From 2006 to now, we have seen substantial growth in student numbers as the industry has also demanded more and more qualified technicians. From about 180 students in 2006, we now have approximately 900 full-time students across two campuses and two faculties.

Q: How important is it for an artist to be able to play a musical instrument or understand the technical/business requirements in the production of music?
A: It’s definitely an advantage to understand the language of music. However, even if you’re not a musician, the language can be taught and the technical skills can back that up.

Q: What courses does the academy offer and what are the qualifying criteria? Can anyone sign up?

  • A three-year Diploma in Audio Technology
  • A one-year Higher Certificate in Audio technology
  • A three-year BSc Degree in Sound Engineering Technology

We are a higher education institution, so there are academic entrance requirements that are unique for each qualification. Anyone is welcome to enquire about these.

Q: What advice would you give musicians who are considering advancing their careers through a formal qualification?
A: Make yourself as useful and versatile as possible. If you walk into an industry and you have value in more than one discipline, the chances of you being utilised in that environment are far greater.

Q: The music industry is evolving at a rapid pace due to technological advancement. How does the academy keep the music training relevant?
A: By looking into the future. We are at every international trade show for our industry and have our finger on the pulse of where the industry is evolving to. That gets brought back into our curriculum and influences the technology that we expose our students to.

Q: Where can interested applicants get more information on the academy and its course offerings?
A: The Academy of Sound Engineering is based in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Visit for more details, email or go to


By: Jonathan Shaw

When I started my journey in the music industry, the concept of music publishing and what a music publisher did was somewhat of a dark, mystical art to me.

I think what confuses most people is the blurry difference between publishing a record (a CD, MP3 or perhaps a “stream”) and publishing music itself. Now, this blurry difference comes down to what one has the right to control:

  • A record company controls the recording of a performance of a piece of music.
  • A music publisher controls the use of music and lyrics. A music publisher also licenses the use of creators’ music, collects the licence fees, defends their rights against unauthorised usages, pays out the songwriter their share, and promotes their catalogue as best they can.

The authorisation that a publisher gives to make the recording of their music is called a Mechanical Right in industry jargon and is often passed on to an organisation commonly referred to as a Mechanical Rights society. In South Africa, the society that administers Mechanical Rights is called the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO).

SAMRO, on the other hand, administers Performing Rights (for music that is either performed in public or broadcast on mediums such as TV or radio).

One of the things that music publishers do really well is taking care of administration and ensuring that they, firstly, have the rights to the music by signing a deal with a songwriter. Often this includes taking ownership of the music but it’s not uncommon that a songwriter licenses, exclusively, their music to a publisher. This, however, may mean the publisher pays less attention to music they don’t own outright or that the deal is limited to administration only. Next, all the details for the music publishers’ new songs are now checked and this information is relayed to the collecting societies mentioned above.

The difference between start-up music publishing companies and established ones is the amount of business contacts and opportunities that each may receive for the music they represent. Unlike record companies that actively look at getting new recordings and performing artists on to the web, on radio and on the stage, music publishers will look at getting their clients’ musical works into new recordings, films, theatre productions and elsewhere.

Music publishers are often not concerned with how well a performing artist is doing, besides the fact that their success may fuel the popularity of a piece of music – which will often lead to other artists recording and performing the song. So, it is often the case that music publishers will spend much of their time fielding enquiries about the use of more popular works than making a work popular. Make sense?

Many new singers who also happen to be songwriters sometimes don’t understand this difference in business model when looking for a “publishing deal” for their music. In many ways, a new artist should try to get their recordings popular before finding a suitable music publisher. Many music publishers simply look to “play the lotto” with music, signing every song that comes their way in the hope that one will strike it lucky. There is nothing wrong with that, except that new songwriters looking to be made famous by a music publisher may be disappointed (side note: many recording artists are similarly disappointed in their record deals!).

Since SAMRO and CAPASSO take care of reproduction (Mechanical) and Performing Rights, the publisher is left to license deals for uses outside these two organisations, namely what the industry refers to as “synchronisation deals”. These deals give authorisation, for a fee, to individuals but more often businesses that may wish to use the music, such as using a song in a film or documentary.

Now, I mentioned that a publisher should be good at admin and this would also include tracking the usage of the work and holding SAMRO or CAPASSO accountable for the correct amounts to be paid. Publishers are also concerned with monitoring the unauthorised use of the music, or infringements on the owner’s copyright in the music, and could institute legal proceedings as a result. This policing is often challenging for smaller publishers and songwriters.

The best way to find a publisher is by reputation. Ask any expert in the field to list some good ones and also, if you see music you like in feature films and adverts, check the end credits for the publisher of those songs. Importantly, make sure your deal is fair.


Jonathan G Shaw is a music business consultant and the author of the textbook The South African Music Business. He is also a successful recording studio owner, recording engineer and producer. Visit


Gig guide (Brought to you by Concerts SA)

Andile Yenana
6 October 2017 @ 7pm
The Headroom Studios
21 Bridlington Road, Seaview, Durban

Rocking the Daisies
5 – 8 October 2017
Cloof Wine Estate, Darling

5 – 7 October 2017
OppiKoppi Farm, Northam

Macufe Festival
29 September – 8 October 2017

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