Licensed to Play February 2012


Welcome to 2012 – the year in which SAMRO proudly celebrates its 50th anniversary as Africa’s leading copyright administration society.

In this newsletter, we’ll be introducing you to our sales team, providing a breakdown of licensing revenue collected in 2011, and profiling SAMRO licensee, T-Musicman, as well as SAMRO members the African Jazz Pioneers. In addition, we’ll outline how startup community radio stations can go about getting licensed.

We hope you’ll find the information helpful and enlightening. Please feel welcome to contact us with any feedback, or if you would like your business to be profiled in an upcoming newsletter.

Exciting news is that SAMRO has introduced a new service –SAMRO 24/7 – to help us communicate more effectively and efficiently with licensees and members. SAMRO is now on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we undertake to resolve your query within 24 hours of receiving it.

Yours in music

Kgomotso Mosenogi
Marketing and Communications Manager: SAMRO


SAMRO’s excellent track record of managing and collecting licensing revenue can be attributed to a dynamic sales team that is motivated, dedicated and hands-on.

SAMRO’s Sales Division licenses music users for Performing Rights, which are royalties that accrue to composers and lyricists (and often publishers of music). Other rights administered by SAMRO include Mechanical and Needletime Rights, which are managed as separate divisions.

The Sales Division comprises three business departments: Broadcasting, general licensing and Mechanical Rights.

The broadcasting department generates revenue from radio and television broadcasters – both private and public and, to a lesser degree, community stations. General licensing revenue is received in respect of music that is played or performed in public areas such as nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, hair salons, buses, retail shops, concert venues and car washes – in other words, any public performance. The Mechanical Rights department works with the reproduction of a musical work from one medium to another within South Africa.

Heading up the SAMRO Sales Division is General Manager, Stephenson Mhlanga. He is ably supported by a team comprising the National Sales Manager: Broadcasting and Online Transmissions (BOLT), Keitumetse Setshedi; the Regional Manager (Inland), Alan Gustafson; the Regional Manager (Coastal), Andile Kobese; Key Accounts Manager, Grace Khambane; Manager: Mechanical Rights, Ralph Giraudeaux and Deputy Manager: Sales (Administration), Janine Lewis.

Pfanani Lishivha heads up the Performers’ Organisation of South Africa (POSA) Trust, which administers Needletime Rights. Below the management team are another 30 committed and capable members of the sales force, who interact with customers on a daily basis and strive to reinforce the importance of paying licensing dues for the use of intellectual property.

Contact the sales team at


SAMRO is pleased to announce that its total licence and royalty income for the past financial year rose to over R313 million in 2011, an increase of R9,9 million from R303,1 million recorded for 2010.

This figure confirms that SAMRO is continuing to provide value for both the creators and users of music.

According to SAMRO’s annual report, which can be viewed online by clicking here, domestic licence income increased by 3,9% to R306,4 million. This was mainly made up of broadcasting revenue (R203,4 million, up from R192,2 million in 2010) and general licensing income (excluding cinema), which was up by R1,5 million to R97,1 million.

However, income from foreign affiliates decreased by R1,5 million to R6,6 million.


For more than two decades, T-Musicman has been at the forefront of ensuring the South African music industry improves and becomes sustainable, having witnessed its resilience through turbulent times.

Since its inception in 1989, Peter Tladi’s music and concert promotion company has operated on the premise that music is an entirely reciprocal industry, with all its segments feeding off each other. T-Musicman’s understanding of the live music landscape has seen it initiate and support various efforts to develop this part of the industry, through workshops, internships and other development initiatives.

Tladi says: “Only through education, cooperation and collaboration between different industry players can T-Musicman (and others who rely on music to do business) become more involved in efforts to improve compliance with legislation meant to protect the arts (and music in particular).”

One of the ways in which T-Musicman accomplishes this is through its licence agreement with SAMRO. Tladi says: “It’s important to be licensed with SAMRO because it enables songwriters and composers to get their royalties. Paying licence fees rewards creators of music for their contributions and also means we’re not exploiting musicians, because we pay for what we use. Without writers and composers, we would not get new music and would thus stagnate.”

As organiser, manager and promoter of internationally renowned live music festivals, such as the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Tladi strongly believes that live entertainment provides direct economic benefits.

He says: “It generates turnover that pays musicians, artists, organisers and event staff. Venues, merchandisers and other support personnel also benefit. Significant positive benefits are derived for community building, social cohesion, cultural development, tourism promotion and a greater sense of pride.”

To improve the licensing process, he would like to see more “backstage data capturing of songs that are being performed on stage because, in most cases, artists don’t always perform what is planned once they get on the stage.” He also suggests that SAMRO should conduct more music summits across the country to educate music promoters and event organisers.


The history of the African Jazz Pioneers (AJP) stretches back to the 1950s, when jazz was the fashion and big bands were the name of the game. The late Ntemi Edmund Piliso, leader and founding member of the AJP, nourished the group from their humble roots to their current international acclaim.

The AJP is made up of a group of extraordinarily talented musicians, who were among the acts that royally entertained guests at the recent SAMRO/MES charity concert in Hillbrow.

Makhosonke Mrubata is one of the instrumentalists and composers in the band. He sought Performing and Mechanical Rights protection from SAMRO some 15 years ago, when he joined the AJP and became involved with the arranging, composing and recording of material for the group.

As a family man, with his musical ability as the principal means of making a living, Mrubata says that, “Aside from performance fees and album sales, royalties and licence fees are one of our main revenue streams, and this has encouraged me to continue developing my skills as a composer.”

He feels that it is only fair for musicians to benefit from the playing of their music in public spaces through the paying of licence fees, as concert venues, clubs, restaurants and even retail stores benefit financially from the use of music to either attract clientele or create a pleasant atmosphere.

His message to SAMRO’s licensees is: “Carry on paying licence fees, as this ensures that musicians are able to earn a living from our original creative works and continue composing music and writing songs, enabling us to support our families.”


SAMRO often receives queries about the licensing of community radio stations that play music. Here is a brief outline of how the process works.

A community radio station uses copyrighted music via broadcast, performance or ‘diffusion’ (e.g. music played at a shopping mall). Under the South African Copyright Act, the station must acquire the necessary authorisation and pay a fee for using such music.

The process to follow in obtaining this licensing agreement is fairly simple. It starts once the radio station has obtained alicence from ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) to provide broadcasting services. The station then needs to apply to SAMRO for a copyright music licence. Once the application has been received, with all relevant information furnished, a licence agreement is generated for the community radio station to sign and return to SAMRO’s offices. An agreement is normally drafted within seven working days and dispatched to the licensee.

SAMRO has a licensing department that ensures that music users in South Africa, irrespective of their size, are properly licensed for the broadcast, performance or diffusion of copyrighted music.

SAMRO has a variety of tariff structures that are tailor-made to suit the particular circumstances of each sector/class of premises or for the type of musical performance concerned. In addition, the authorised musical content, as stipulated on the ICASA licence, guides SAMRO in determining the appropriate tariff to be charged.

All licensees are required to submit performance returns, which are then analysed by SAMRO staff and the results captured. This enables SAMRO to distribute the collected licence fees to the rights holders whose music has been used and to their publishers, less the costs of administration, at the end of every year. Simply put, this means that every rights holder receives a share of the collected licence fee that corresponds with the reported music usage on returns for the specified year.

Below is a list of the rates based on a station’s ICASA licence conditions (the percentage of music played dictates the percentage of income that is to be paid as a SAMRO licence fee):

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