Licensed to Play August 2014



Music User

Over the last 20 years South Africa’s social, economic and political spheres have drastically transformed, and so has music. As we celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy in our country, we have dedicated this issue to celebrating 20 years of music, and the hip and happening places that make music even more popular. We look at South Africa’s music journey since 1994 and venues that have stood the test of time in the last decade.

We speak to DJ Christos, whose contribution in the South African music industry has played a significant part in putting SA music on the global map. Christos takes us through the SA journey in music, his experience with venues and   helps us capture some of the most interesting moments of the last 20 years in the industry.

Copyright laws in South Africa were launched as early as 1910, after the creation of the Union of South Africa (present day Republic of South Africa).   In this issue, we take a look at these laws and some of the most interesting copyright infringement cases and lessons to be learnt from such instances.

We take you through the SAMRO journey, highlighting our role and influence in music since 1961. Finally, we are also excited to announce the winners of  the Wawela Music Awards. The awards recognise and celebrate SAMRO members – composers, authors, lyricists and publishers – that have lit up international and local stages, screens and airwaves with their dazzling talent. The ceremony was held in Johannesburg on 27 June 2014.

We hope that you will find this issue of Licensed to Play informative and engaging.

Would you like to be profiled in a future newsletter? Do you have any news that you would like to share with fellow SAMRO licensees?  Please contact us at We look forward to your comments and ideas for possible inclusion in Licensed to Play.

Enjoy and all the best.


Yours in music,

Tiyani Maluleke

GM: Marketing


South Africa’s music scene has come of age. To celebrate 20 years of freedom, Licensed to Play spoke to the legendary DJ Christos who spoke about how the South African music scene has evolved and also shared some tips from his industry notebook.

Describe the South African music scene 20 years ago?

In 1994, South African music was non-existent, it was a dying breed. We were just playing Chicco, Brenda Fassie, and deep jazz, beyond that, we had nothing else to play.  Looking back, it’s amazing how far we have come.

South African music has achieved a lot, and has evolved immensely since the days of Brenda Fassie and Chicco. The late 90s saw the emergence of various artists such as Boom Shaka, Busi Mhlongo, Lebo Mathosa, Trompies, Arthur Mafokate, Mdu Masilela and Joe Nina among others.

At the turn of the century, Makifizolo, Malaika, and dance music emerged. Deep house was solidified and South Africa broke into the international scene.

At that time, Oskido, DJ Fresh, Greg  Maloka and I started the Southern African Music Conference, which became a platform for skills development for young people. We groomed young talented and upcoming musicians, including the likes of Black Coffee who has put South African music on the global map.

Five years after Black Coffee was involved with us he became successful. This proved that the skills development programme was a success. In no time, South African deep house and dance music was in demand.

What has been the impact of technology on music over the last 20 years? 

When we started in the 90s, we were walking around with vinyl records and cassettes. For a DJ that was a lot of work. It was just not physically possible to carry more than 20 records at a time Carrying all that around was heavy, at any given time you had over 20kgs of luggage to carry around to play at a gig.

Just to get the vinyl pressed to begin with was a mission, because we didn’t have a vinyl plant in South Africa and had to send it to Zimbabwe to get it pressed, and so it was really quite an expensive exercise. Making music was also expensive. To get into studio to record would cost at least R30 000. That’s the equivalent of a couple of hundred thousand rand today.

Technology has made making music a lot cheaper and easier. Today, all you need is a PC and software, and with about R10 000 you can start recording. With a memory stick that weighs less than 500g, you can play an entire gig.

Let’s talk about licensing of music?  

Licensing of music has always been a great benefit for musicians in that they get paid for their work. In my opinion SAMRO has done a great job. However, from a venue licensing perspective, SAMRO needs to do a lot of work in educating venue owners and DJs on the need for licensing. It will add value to know why venue owners and DJs must get licensed, and show the value for such as service. I have definitely seen value from SAMRO in the work that the organisation has been doing since I joined in 1990. The organisation’s administration and business conduct is just excellent but we need more education on venue and DJ licensing.

What venues do you feel have stood the test of time in the last 20 years? 

I think Club Gemini in Klipgat was the best club ever. It closed down a few years ago, but to date, I think it was the best. They gave the market what they wanted, and went beyond to set the trend in music. They helped launch a lot of artists by allowing DJs to be as creative as they wanted to be.

I also think House 22 and Jack Budha in Pretoria, Club Tilt in Durban and Shaguma which is one of the clubs that I own have stood the test of time. These are at least 10 years old.

What has made these clubs unique is their focus on specific music styles; people go to these places because they know they will get something good from the venues. It’s not about who is playing, it’s about what’s being played, and the fans know they will hear something new, within the same genre of deep house or dance but different.

What trends have you seen over the last 20 years, with particular focus on venues?

The best place to play is in the township. Over the past eight to 10 years, a lot of the clubs that started off in the suburbs have moved to the townships. The townships have become the entertainment hub and have the best venues.

The future of music 20 years from now?

Over the next five to six years we will get to a point where music is given away for free online. Musicians will make money out of performances, events or selling merchandise, and not the actual music sales, given that even the music that’s being sold is already being shared.

How would you describe SA music today?

South African music is flying the flag high, and we are making inroads in the international market.

What’s your current favourite beat and why? 

Soul Search by Chimamusique (Collen Ntala Mmotla) from Polokwane. Give him five years he will be one of South Africa’s top producers.  He is very talented.


SAMRO administers the music copyright of those talented creators that churn out the sizzling sounds we love listening to – composers, authors, lyricists and publishers.

But SAMRO licenses the music used by  radio stations, television broadcasters, shopping malls, pubs, restaurants, shebeens and mobile DJs, to mention but a few. It’s no mean feat looking after the interests of such a diverse grouping of people and businesses year in and year out.

Music everywhere

Established in 1961, SAMRO’s role has been dynamic, particularly in the past 20 years. Take a look around you – today, there are many more ways to listen to music than there were two decades ago. Technology has made it easier to make, listen, distribute and sell, as well as to reproduce and copy music. There are also many more businesses that play music to please their customers and employees. Music is everywhere. If it’s not where you are yet, it will get there soon enough, be it legally via an app or illegally via piracy. Making sure those who create the music get their fair share of the pie has certainly become more complicated in the modern age.

Transformation and new leadership

SAMRO was founded by Dr Gideon Roos and his two sons.  They played a key role in the formation and running of the organisation. Dr Roos’ son Paul was at a point the CEO and his other son, Gideon Roos Jnr, was the Executive Director. This changed in 1997 when the Roos family took a decision to step down and resigned from their positions. Rob Hooijer took over the reins as CEO and invested in grooming the next generation of CEOs. In 2006, he stepped down to make way for Nicholas Motsatse, the first black CEO in the organisation’s history. Last year, Deputy CEO Sipho Dlamini moved into the CEO position.

Golden jubilee and new legal status

In 2011 SAMRO celebrated 50 years of creating value for the creators of music with an array of activations. Some of the activation included the Builders Awards – which were created to honour all the individuals who were instrumental in the formation and growth of SAMRO – the SAMRO documentary, which was broadcast on SABC 1 in 2013 and the SAMRO book which will be out soon.

From 1 May 2013, the organisation ceased to be a company limited by guarantee and became a not-for-profit company in terms of the new Companies Act No 71 of 2008 as amended (the Act).

New premises

Having grown over the years, in 2007, SAMRO relocated from 73 Juta Street to its current premises – SAMRO Place, at 20 De Korte Street in Braamfontein. These offices offer excellent access and facilities as well as more space to house the team of experts needed to drive the organisation to its next level of growth.

Upgraded IT and business systems

In keeping with the times, in 2013 SAMRO adopted a new IT system to make it far simpler for members to interact with the organisation online. The system provides several new benefits to members and facilitates integration, all of which was not possible before. Some of the key functionalities include the web portal that provides 24-hour online access to member accounts and the ability to notify works and performances online.

Growing talent

In its role as a leading collecting society in Africa, SAMRO helps ensure that the music industry, and all working in it, remain healthy and thriving. This includes helping to ‘grow’ new talent.

Over the past 20 years, SAMRO, through the SAMRO Foundation has awarded a total of 1552SAMRO Music Bursaries and 34  SAMRO Overseas Scholarships.



SAMRO pays tribute to all its licensees that have consistently paid their license fees during the past 20 years.

Not all licensees are the same. A radio station that plays dance hits is quite different to a restaurant that makes use of background music. So, different kinds of businesses need different types of licences. The fact remains that licensees that pay their  licence fees make all the difference in ensuring that the music industry remains in good health. SAMRO licensees include broadcasters such as radio and TV stations.

The list of licensees also extends to various types of venues that provide music entertainment for their patrons. Throughout the years, venues have come and gone; some have closed their doors and others have only just recently registered with SAMRO.

A host of restaurant, clubs, shopping malls, wedding venues and mobile DJs also pay their fees conscientiously.

Thank you for the music

Acquiring a music usage  licence from SAMRO gives music users permission to play music publically at their businesses or venues. The money collected from these  licences is passed on in the form of royalty income to the creators of music.

“It is only fair that music creators get rewarded for the hard work and creativity that goes into making the tunes that make your business better,” says Sipho Dlamini, SAMRO CEO.

“As laid out in the Copyright Act, if the music you play isn’t written, created, performed and recorded by you, it belongs to whoever created the music. And if you benefit from playing the particular music, you need to give the music creator something in return.”

Reasonable and fair

“We’ve been in music licensing since 1961 and we understand that  licences have to be reasonable and fair to everyone,” Dlamini adds.  “By paying your  licence fees you’re sending a positive message to SAMRO music creators, the people who create the soundtracks to the industry’s success.”

He points out that SAMRO affiliation lends credibility to your business and can add to your profile when included on your websites and in marketing communication.

For more information on venue licensing click here 

The South African Copyright Act has been instrumental in the growth of creative works during the past century. South Africa’s music story would not be complete without paying homage to it.

Copyright laws in South Africa were launched as early as 1910, after the creation of the Union of South Africa (present day Republic of South Africa). The Act was amended In 1916 Parliament enacted the Patents, Designs, Trademarks and Copyright Act 1916, which incorporated the British Imperial Copyright Act 19911 into South African law. In 1928 South Africa became a party to the Berne Convention in its own right.

South Africa become a republic in 1961 and Parliament enacted the Copyright Act of 1965, which was still largely based on the British Copyright Act 1956. In 1978, Parliament replaced the Act with the Copyright Act of 1978, which (as amended) remains in force. The Act has been amended several times, most notably in 1992 to make computer programs a distinct class of protected work, and in 1997 to bring it into line with international agreements.

The Copyright Act enables the right to control the use and distribution of artistic and creative works, in the Republic of South Africa. Given the nature of the works of artists and composers, the Copyright Act protects copying of works of artists and composers without permission, and their creative works. According to the Act, the author of an original copyright work can become the owner of copyright automatically created, provided that certain requirements are met.

The Act is automatically recognised in other countries that are members of the Berne Convention (currently more than 148 countries are members of the Berne Convention). Copyright is automatically conferred on a work that is eligible for copyright at the time when it is created, provided that certain requirements are met. The duration of copyright is relatively long and the term is different for different categories of works. For literary, musical or artistic works other than photographs, the term is the life of the author plus 50 years from the end of the year in which the author dies.  So copyright will remain with the artist for even 50 years after their death. In the case of sound recordings and published editions, the term is 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording or edition is first published.

According to the Act, copyright infringement occurs when a person without the authorisation of the owner, does any of the acts reserved for the owner, for example by making a reproduction of the work. Indirect infringement can occur when a person without permission of the copyright owner, imports, sells, lets, by way of trade offers or exposes for sale or hire, or distributes for purposes of trade.

It can also happen if one permits a place of entertainment to be used for a public performance of a literary or musical work, where the performance constitutes an infringement of copyright. This means that the copyright owner can take legal action against any person who infringes copyright on their works.

If infringement is established to have taken place, the copyright owner will be entitled to damages as compensation, as determined by a court of law. Over the years, there have been a number of copyright infringement cases across the world. The one thing to always keep in mind is to give credit to the original owner of the artistic work.

Keep this in mind, copyright laws are there for a reason, don’t use other people’s creative work, as copyright infringement cases can get very costly. Make licensing your friend, and get the relevant approvals to use the works of others.

Sources: South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL); CIPRO;


The second annual Wawela Music Awards took to the stage recently to once again applaud South Africa’s finest musical contributors.

cThe star studded ceremony was hosted by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) in a glittering event held in Johannesburg on Friday 27 June 2014.

The awards were launched by SAMRO in 2013 to provide a more inclusive showcase of all players in the music industry’s value chain. The second instalment of the prestigious Wawelas once again went beyond the performers to award song writers and music publishers who add magic to the music at every stage of creation.

“We at SAMRO are pleased to be able to play our part in celebrating South African musicians through the Wawela Music Awards, as the awards enable us to recognise some great behind the scenes contributors and works,” said Sipho Dlamini CEO of SAMRO.

The second event attracted some big names both performing on the night and nominated in the various categories. Particularly among the Special Awards categories, where South Africa’s ground-breaking musicians shared the applause with legends from the past and present.

Among those recognised was the legendary “King Don Father of Kwaito”, Mandla ‘Spikiri’ Mofokeng, who was honoured in the Prolific Category of Works Award. He was recognised alongside another driving force in SA music – Chicco Twala – who picked up the Wawela Lifetime Achievement Award for the huge strides he achieved in his lengthy career. Also honoured was 73 year old Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader and Grammy Award winner, Joseph Shabalala. He walked away with the Breaking Through the Borders Award, which he deservedly earned though his accomplishments promoting South Africa’s rich and diverse music abroad.

The standard  awards categories  recognised some stand-out musicians in a broad variety of genres and mediums. The notable winners include film score composer Philip Miller, who won Best Soundtrack in a Feature film or Theatrical Documentary the second year running.  While Joe Niemand took home the Best song or Composition in a Television Production award.

The big winner for the night was composer, Adam Howard,  who received two awards in the categories Best Song or Composition in a Television Commercial  and Best Song or Composition in a Radio Commercial.

Rapper HHP walked away with the Best Creative Album of the Year award for his album Motswafrika, while Sheer Publishing took home the honours as the Publisher of the Year. Songwriter of the Year went to Mi Casa for Heavenly Sent while The Muffinz were awarded the  Best South African Duo/Group award for their album, Have You Heard. Singer-songwriter and poet Zahara walked away with the Best Female Artist & Composer/Co-composer and maskandi legend, Ihhashi Elimhlophe won Best Male Artist & Composer/Co-composer.

Nicholaas Labuschagne, completed the list of honours with the Statistical Award For Live Performance and Broadcast.

Among the legends who shared the stage were Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sipho Hostix Mabuse and PJ Powers who proved their talent to be undiminished  as they thrilled the audience with their unmistakable sounds.

The Wawela Music Awards also took the time to poignantly mark South Africa’s 20 years of freedom and democracy with a special musical tribute performed by Yvonne Chaka Chaka, together with Trenton and Free Radical in honour of Nelson Mandela. Chaka Chaka, PJ Powers along with nominated musicians Lindiwe Maxolo and Tarryn Lamb also honoured the memory of Brenda Fassie. Performing heartfelt renditions of some of her biggest hits including  Zola Budd, Weekend Special and Vuli’ndlela.

Dlamini spoke of the importance of the occasion, saying, “As we celebrate 20 years of freedom, we are proud to celebrate the role of music in the fight to attain our democracy.”


Full list of winners 

Standard Awards

Best Soundtrack in a Feature film or Theatrical Documentary

Philip Miller

Best song or Composition in a Television Production

Joe Niemand

Best Song or Composition in a Television Commercial

Adam Howard

Best Song or Composition in a Radio Commercial

Adam Howard

Best Creative Album of the Year


Publisher of the Year Award

Sheer Publishing

Songwriter of the Year

Mi Casa

Best South African Duo/Group

The Muffinz

Best Female Artist & Composer/Co-composer


Best Male Artist & Composer/Co-composer

Ihashi Elimhlophe

Statistical Award for Live Performance and Broadcast

Nicholaas Labuschagne


Special Awards

Breaking through the Borders Award 

Joseph Shabalala

The Wawela Lifetime Achievement Award

Chicco Twala

Prolific Catalogue of Works Award 

Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng


As we celebrate 20 years of democracy we must not forget the role played by musicians and artists in making the journey to democracy a memorable one through music.

Here are some of the titles that made us smile and cry – but most of all inspired us to want a better South Africa:

1.Brenda Fassie – My black President

2.Lucky Dube – House of exile

3.Boom Shaka – Free

4.Mzwakhe Mbuli – Peace in our land

5.Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Motherland

6.Johnny Clegg – Asimbonanga

7.Miriam Makeba – West Wind

8.PJ Powers – Jabulani

9.Vuyisile Mini – Naants indod emnyama Verwoerd

10.Enoch Sontonga – Nkosi sikeleli Africa

11.Ladys Smith Black Mambazo – Liph’ Iqiniso

12.Stimela  – Khululani  and Whispers in the deep

13.Joe Nina – Unchained

14.Hugh Masekela – Bring him back home

15.Vusi Mahlasela – When you come back

16.Sibongile Khumalo and Hugh Masekela – Songs of migration

17.Bright blue – Weeping

18.Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse – Nelson Mandela

19.Koos du Plessis – Sprokie vir ‘n stadskind

20.Bok van Blerk and Robbie Wessels – Ons vir jou Suid Afrika


“It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.” Nelson Mandela.

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