Licensed to Play August 2015

Dear Music User,

Welcome to another edition of Licensed to Play. South Africa is rich with females who are in the music business and as part of celebrating Women’s month, we saw fit to play our part by featuring young female musicians who are making major moves in the music industry.

In this edition, we chat to Relebogile Mabotja – a multi-talented music mogul in the making who runs her own publishing house and record label. We also talk to Fifi Cooper, who has carved her position as one of the hottest female emcees in 2015.

If you will be hosting an event, it is important to read the article that explains what a once off event licence is, how it works and what you need to do to acquire this licence.

When it comes to fine lounging in club culture, 47th Avenue is a place known to offer over the board service to its spectators. We talk to Kgolo Daguru who is the venue co-owner about running such a business and what it means to have a SAMRO venue licence.

Furthermore, the 12th annual Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition is coming up from 10 to 12 September 2015 under the theme, ‘From Kwela to Hop: the Great South Africa Song Book’. The conference is back with a stimulating conference programme, expanded expo section and plenty of live events.

Lastly, don’t forget to check the September gig guide and what we have for you from Concerts SA.



Tiyani Maluleke

GM: Marketing


Here at SAMRO, we pride ourselves on being a collecting society that is able to fully service its members. On the other hand, our business is completely reliant on another key stakeholder in our operational value chain, namely our licensees.

Without our licensees’ persistence in paying their licence fees regularly, SAMRO would not be able to compensate its members for the use of their creative output. With this in mind SAMRO decided to embark on a new initiative.

“This initiative was intended to celebrate the immeasurable efforts of our licensees by showcasing the people who are touched by their contributions to SAMRO. We wanted our members to tell their story of how the royalties they’ve received have impacted their lives as musicians. This is how the SAMRO member Thank You video was born.” Said Tiyani Maluleke, GM Marketing at SAMRO.

As you know for musicians, music is their livelihood, their 9 to5, and royalties such as the ones they receive from SAMRO are so integral to their livelihood.  You may not know but the concert circuit is seasonal.  There are times in the year where a musician is in high demand and is therefore generating income on a regular basis. But there are also times when there’s a lull in this arena which is when musicians rely on the royalty income received from SAMRO and other organisations that administer music copyright.

In the video we get to see the likes of the legendary Dorothy Masuku, Loyiso Bala, Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng, the Muffinz, Bucie and many more, tell their stories.  More importantly we get to hear these artists send messages of support and thanks to all the music users/ licensees out there who do their bit in ensuring the livelihood of SA musicians.

Legendary artist, Dorothy Masuku said SAMRO has done so much for her and still continues to. “As old as I am now, I rely on SAMRO.”

For Lloyd Cele, to finally get royalties for his music was refreshing and motivated him to work even harder, and to really take the music business seriously.

We would like to thank, Sheer Publishing CEO – Dave Alexandra, Wanda Baloyi, Lloyd Cele, Morbee Khan , Leeann Dlamini, Loyiso Bala, Pops Mahomed, The Muffinz, Dorothy Masuku, Mandla ‘Spikiri´Mofokeng, Mdu Maselela, Bucie, DJ Shimza, Unathi, Daniel Baron, Louise Carver and many others for making time to record the Thank You SAMRO video.

To view the video please click here.


So you plan to host a spectacular event that showcases South African music talent to thousands of fans? Did you know that you will also need to apply for a once off licence for the event?

Music composers and lyricists have the right to be compensated for the use of their original music that is protected under copyright whenever it performed in public (played in a club, concert, restaurants, pubs etc.)

The once off licence for your event ensures that however music is used at the event the rightful copyright owners will benefit from the use of their songs.  Whether it’s a live performance, background music or a DJ set, these constitute public performance and your once off licence covers you for that.

How do we do that?  Well, part of the licensing agreement requires that the proprietor of the venue or the event organiser send SAMRO detailed usage returns or playlists of all the music that is performed at the time of the event. This data enables SAMRO to fairly calculate and distribute the royalties collected from the licence fees, to the rights holders of the works that were used – i.e. those who wrote the music and lyrics, and the record company that published the work.

SAMRO will calculate different tariffs and rates based on the nature of the event size of the venue, as well as the category of music user you fall under. Remember that paying a licence fee to use music in public is a legal requirement, and failure to comply constitutes an infringement of copyright. In fact, the lawsuits and punitive costs of avoiding paying licence fees could be far higher than the costs of obtaining a SAMRO licence.

So, do the right thing and get your venue licensed today or get that once off licence for your gig! Call the SAMRO Licensing Department on 011 712 8363/64/73/72 or email:


Relebogile is a mogul in the making, having conquered the small screen, the talented singer- songwriter is now well on her way to conquering the music biz.

Mabotja is one of the few females in South Africa to own a record label and publishing company. To add to her illustrious portfolio Mabotja has also taken on the role of musical director for TV shows such as Sing It Loud, Afro Café, Koze Kuse and Mzansi Insider. She has also scored theme songs for Laduma, Sports@10, Soccer Zone and SABC 2 title song, You Belong.

From a tender age, Mabotja always loved singing and at seventeen she got her first break in the theatre production, Fame – The Musical in which she was cast as one of the principal characters. Fast forward to 2015, Mabotja has become a household name on television and she’s slowly navigating the complex sphere of the business side of music, namely owning a record label and a music publishing company.

“Running a publishing company and record label is so much work, with a lot of paper work to be done. I learned a long time ago the importance working hard to achieve my goals.  The more successful you become, the harder you need to work to stay on top of your game. You also need to surround yourself with people that are really good at what they do, which I think is something that really helped me get to where I am today.”

By working hard and surrounding herself with right people in the music industry, Mabotja has managed to put out some great records and build a reputable brand for herself. “I prefer to work with the best in the business and gaining some much need insight into the space. I wouldn’t have been able to deliver quality projects without a quality team.”

When it comes to the art of songwriting and music composition, she says that music for her comes naturally. “I am very fortunate that the gift comes out naturally, I just hear the music and work on that. But there are times when one is under strict deadlines and everything is just about trial and error. I wish I could say here’s the formula, it worked for me, run with it but it’s not like that.”

Being one of the few females playing in a male dominated music industry presents some challenges for Mabotja, but this has not stopped her from reaching for her dreams.  “I’m the kind of person who does what I’m passionate about, working on projects that seem impossible to pull off makes me ‘stubbornly persistent’. It’s important for me to own my works and also build a legacy for myself. I want to inspire other women to get up, and do it on their own.”

When it comes to intellectual property rights and contractual issues, Mabotja says she is extremely hands on in this regard. She points out that sometimes an artist can get too excited when offered a recording deal that they forget to ensure that everything related to the copyright and contractual issues is resolved before the recording starts. “If anything, one needs to have an agreement in writing to avoid any disputes when the song starts generating money. This ensures that everyone who was involved in the recording prcess knows what they will get.”

Mabotja feels that in this day and age there is no need for publishing houses and record labels to subject artists to contracts that are full of jargon and complicated language. From her point of view, artists should be presented with a clear and simple contract, written in simple English that covers the deliverables and expectations from both parties.

Touching on the success of her publishing company, the talented songwriter credits writing music for television for this feat. “I have come to realise that music for TV can bring in royalties when I least expect it. I know that if I compose music for a show, I will only be paid once for scoring but over and above that, there are royalties I will get whenever the show I composed the theme song for is aired and each time it is repeated.”

It is indeed great to see a young woman doing great things and pushing the boundaries to make things happen for herself.

Look out for the vidcast of our exclusive interview with Lebo coming soon.

Get in touch with Lebo via Twitter: @RelebogileM | Facebook: @Relebogile Mabotja | Instagram: Relebogile


Fifi Copper is one of the hottest South African female emcees, dubbed the “First lady of Motswako”.

She has an impressive track record of working with some of the best hip hop artists in the industry including Molemi, Khuli Chana and Lection. Her collaboration with AB Crazy birthed the smash hit, Kisses which is currently dominating the charts.

We caught up with the talented emcee during her busy schedule, to chat about her music career and mountains she’s had to climb to get to where she is today.

Q. You have been hustling for quite a while, how has your journey been so far?

A. My journey has been nothing short of amazing. I started singing at the age of 8.  2007 is the year when I took the first step into the rap game. It’s been a little over 7 years and I am enjoying the path my career is taking.

Q. Do you think female emcees have reached a stage where they are given the same opportunities and platforms as their male counterparts?

A. I believe female rappers shouldn’t be given anything – they should take it and that’s what we are doing. We’re not looking for any special treatment because we are females in a male dominated genre. The word “female” should only be used to describe our gender, we knowingly took this path to challenge ourselves, this means that our craft has to be on par if not better than the best in our field.

Q. A little bird told us that you are also quite the vocalist, how have collaborations with some of the best in the biz contributed to your success thus far?

A. I consider myself as an artist, so rapping is just one of the many skills I tap into. I have worked with Mo Molemi on two albums, Towdee, Lection, Notshi, Khuli Chana and recently AB Crazy. I’ve always looked up to those guys and I now see the Motswako family as my brothers. I gained so much knowledge and experience from them.

Q. You’ve been in the rap game for a while now and it’s only recently that you’ve broken into the mainstream with the hit single, Kisses. What kept you going?

A. When chasing after a dream, you need to have the confidence, will power and determination to get to where you want to be. I am no stranger to hard work and I promised myself that I’d work hard until I got there. As my mother used to say “No weapon formed against me shall prosper” and this mantra kept me going even when times were tough. So with every obstacle, I always remembered that my talent is a blessing from God and that no one can take that away from me.

Q. So, what strategy did you use to penetrate the mainstream music market?

A. Social media provided me with a platform to connect directly with my fans. Constant feedback from the fans allowed me to tailor-make songs that suit their listening needs.

Q. How did your collaboration with AB Crazy come about?

A. I am a hard core rapper, so my team and I thought collaborating with the soulful AB Crazy would soften my rugged rap style and make it more approachable.  Kisses is easy to listen to and makes people nostalgic – that “teenage love” kind of vibe. AB Crazy delivered as always.

Q. How do you plan to stay relevant in the ever changing rap game?

A. The plan is to stay true to what my fans love about me and my music, while still evolving as an artist and honing my craft. It’s for me to keep building the brand Fifi Copper because that will keep me at the top of the game.

Q. What makes Fifi Cooper different from other female emcees?

A. I am not a rapper, I am an artist and have so much to offer to the industry so I will be keeping everyone on their toes. To me, Motswako is a lifestyle that brings different music genres together. I have been blessed with multiple talents so I might wake up one morning and decide to give the world a taste of an RnB and jazz single, or possibly show case my dancing skills. What makes me stand out from the rest is my artistry and versatility.

Q. What are the most important lessons you learned in the mainstream industry that have continued to help you keep your head up?

A. Work hard, stay true to yourself and evolve.

Q. What are the future plans for Fifi Cooper?

A. I have so much in the pipelines going for me.  I’m really excited about a few singles and music videos that will be coming out soon in support of my new album that will be released in the near future.

Q. So, are you a SAMRO member? If so, why did you decide to apply for membership?

A. Yes, I have applied and I hope to get elected into full membership at the next board meeting. SAMRO provides a platform for a music authors/creators to be compensated for their creative output.  I don’t have the capability to trace and collect the monies owed to me so SAMRO is indeed a lifesaver in this regard.

Q. On a final note, what advice can you give to those who look up to you and would want to follow in your footsteps? 

A.  My advice would be, your dreams are valid, work hard and be consistent. Write down your goals and work tirelessly towards achieving the success you hope for.  Live your dream because IT IS POSSIBLE.

Q. Anything else you would like to share before we wrap things up?

A. In the spirit of Women’s month I have released a new single, Good Girl Down that I dedicated to all the women of this country. Look out for it.

Twitter: @fificooperSan | Facebook: Ffi Cooper San | Instagram: ke_fificooper



In the competitive world of running a lounge venue, the challenge is always about ensuring that the look and feel of the place is top notch and that it attracts the intended patrons.

It’s not an easy feat given that there are many other venues with a similar offering.  So the question then becomes – what is it that sets your business apart? Is it your deco, a signature drink or the DJ line up? One venue that has been able to live up to the standard is 47th Avenue in Durban.

When it comes to fine lounging in club culture, 47th Avenue stands out as one of the most sort after venues.  The sushi bar and cigar lounge which opened its doors in 2014, is an upmarket venue that’s known for its classy setup. It has become synonymous with hosting some of the biggest parties in Durban – from celebrity birthdays, corporate events to radio stations exclusive gatherings.

Kgolo Daguru, 47th Avenue co-founder says that the reason people love the venue is purely for its great services and customer value. “We strive to bring the best in everything we do. For us, it’s about the service before the entertainment. Our patrons should feel taken care of when they visit our lounge.  Excellence in customer service has been the key to our success thus far.”

The venue offers the ultimate experience in fine lounging, fully equipped with a sushi bar on Sun Deck, 2 Whiskey VIP Lounges, a Cigar Lounge, a Cocktail Bar and a Cognac & Champagne Room.

Like many other venues in the country that comply with the law, this beautiful setting also acquired a venue licence to enable music creators to get paid for their creative output.

Dagura says one of the reasons the venue got the licence was to comply with the law and most importantly to contribute in the development of the local music industry. “It is a good thing to have a licence as a venue because by doing so, you are acknowledging the existence of the South African music industry and contributing to the development of artists we bring to perform at our venue.”

Every Friday the venue showcases what it is famously known for, the ultimate clubbing experience – letting their diverse line up of DJs entertain the revellers with R&B, hip-hop and electro house sounds.

With impeccable service and superb catering, 47th Avenue also provides the perfect setting for corporate functions and private parties.

Talking about the pros and cons of running this type of venue, Dagura says the biggest advantage of running a business of this nature is the fact that one gets to create meaningful relationships with people who are in different businesses.

“It is an exciting place to be. We give a platform to emerging artists and showcase their talents to our revellers – creating a long-lasting party experience. Even though we are in Durban, people know that when they come here, they need to visit our restaurant because of our proven track record.”

For those eager to get into the restaurant business, Dagura says research before anything is essential. Once convinced that you have it on the lockdown, then open your establishment purely because you have the passion and drive. “It’s all about doing it purely for the love of it not because you want to make a quick buck.” he concludes.



It was truly a night to remember when two new singing stars were crowned at the SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition final held in Johannesburg on 29 August 2015.

The Linder Auditorium bursting at its seams with music lovers, 24-year-old Levy Sekgapane (Western Art music) and 21 year-old Zoe Modiga (jazz) were named the winners of this year’s ompetition for singers.

They have each won a R200 000 scholarship (South Africa’s most lucrative competitive music scholarship) to further their music studies, or enrol in specialist master classes abroad – plus the honour of having their names on the SAMRO Foundation’s roll of honour, joining 68 fellow scholarships alumni since 1962. Prize money for 2015 was raised from R170 000, and announced on the night.

It was a dazzling evening of music, elevated by knockout vocal performances by the four finalists, all in their 20s and all brimming with youthful talent and promise: Levy Sekgapane and Andiswa Makana (Western Art music) and Zoë Modiga and Amy Campbell (jazz).

Three of the four singers studied music at the University of Cape Town; one graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).  The theme of this year’s scholarships competition was the National Development Plan (NDP) and its vision for a future South Africa.

As such, the SAMRO Foundation had commissioned four composers – Neo Muyanga, Marcus Wyatt, Christo Jankowitz and James Bassingthwaighte – to write new songs inspired by the preamble to the NDP, which was penned by University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor Professor Njabulo Ndebele and poet Antjie Krog. These new compositions were performed by candidates in the intermediate and final rounds.

Prof Ndebele was also the keynote speaker on the night, at an event attended by the arts world’s glitterati. In welcoming him, SAMRO Foundation managing director André le Roux expressed his fervent hope that the positive vision laid out in the NDP roadmap would reach fruition with the help and inclusion of the arts community.

Having progressed through from Thursday’s intermediate round, in which 12 semi-finalists competed, the four singers gave it their all during Sthe finals.

While performing their own choice of repertoire as well as the prescribed commissioned works (the jazz number Connected by Wyatt and the Western Art song Dream of a Rainbow by Jankowitz), they pulled out all the vocal stops to impress the adjudicators.

The high-level judging panel, chaired by Leon van Wyk, included two dual-genre panellists, Karendra Devroop and Sibongile Khumalo. They were joined by Western Art music adjudicators Eugenie Chopin, Lize Coetzer, Conroy Cupido, Hanna van Niekerk and Thami Zungu; and jazz adjudicators Gloria Bosman, Motsumi Makhene, Sibongile Mngoma, Nicky Schrire and Lydia vom Hagen.

The audience were also afforded the rare privilege of hearing two original Gerard Sekoto jazz compositions, Africa and Igoli, arranged by Bassingthwaighte and performed by the TUT Big Band and singer Shaun Jacobs. These songs are among several written while the artist was in exile in Paris.

Furthermore, an exhibition and sale of limited-edition Sekoto prints and posters, to celebrate the Gerard Sekoto Foundation’s partnership with the SAMRO Foundation, proved a roaring success.

In addition to the two overseas scholarships, a number of merit and subsidiary awards were handed out to outstanding finalists and semi-finalists, including Khanyiso Gwenxane, Mikhaela Kruger, Nombuso Ndlandla, Makudupanyane Senaoana and Amy Walton. The two runners-up each received R70 000 (also increased from prior awards of R40 000), bringing the total prize money to over R500 000 – a handsome investment in music education to link with the ideals set out in the NDP.


Planning a music tour but unsure how to fund it? Apply to Concerts SA’s Music Mobility Fund, which will select new projects to support in October

This tour funding mechanism offers opportunities for professional South African musicians to undertake live music-related projects in South Africa as well as other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. This includes live music performances, collaborations and workshops.

Following the success of the first round of funding for 2015 in April, applications are now open for the second iteration of Music Mobility Fund disbursements for the year. The deadline for submissions is Monday 5 October 2015, and tours should take place between October 2015 and end April 2016.

Designed to help musicians, music industry professionals and organisations build on already established domestic success and develop connections, markets and audiences for their work, the fund provides support towards travel and transportation, as well as per diems, material costs (hiring of backline and sound equipment), accommodation and visas.

If you want to apply, check the rules and download the forms on


Check out the spring edition of the SAMRO SA Gig Guide . Let’s usher in the new season in style.

Brian McKnight Live – The Sequel

Venue: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban – Kwazulu-Natal

Date: 16 September


Venue: Grand Arena, Grand West, Cape Town – Western Cape

Date: 17 September


Venue: Carnival City, Festival Lawns, Johannesburg And Reef – Gauteng

Date: 19 September

Fee: R200


Tropika Vaal Beach Experience

Venue: Dickinson Park, Vereeniging – Dickenson Park

Date: 05 September

Fee: R150 and R200


Phalaphala FM Royal Heritage Festival

Venue: Royal Gardens, Thohoyandou

Date: 12 September

Fee: R150


Stay Fresh Saturday – Cape Town

Venue: Shimmy Beach Club

Date: 05 September

Fee: R120 – 280


Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz 2015 – Johannesburg

Venue: Sandton Convention Centre

Date: 24 September

Fee: R500 – 1250


Krankdup Festival 2015

Venue: Sundowners, Alberton

Date: 26 September

Fee: R350

Emalahleni Spring Splash Jazz

Venue: Witbank Dam

Date: 27 September

Fee: R300 – R1200


Mi Casa Home Sweet Home Concert

Venue: Grand West – Cape Town

Date: 04 September

Fee: R150


Polokwane Beach Festival

Venue: Polokwane Rugby Fields

Date: 05 September

Fee: R100 – R1000 (VIP)


BOM Gospel Festival

Venue: Buffalo City Stadium

Date: 27 September

Fee: R150 – R700 (VIP)


iRock Limpopo Music Festival

Venue: Polokwane Rugby Fields

Date: 26 September

Fee: R150 – R650 (VIP)


Moshito Festival

Venue: Newtown Park – Newtown Precinct

Date: 12 September

Fee: R120

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