Licensed to Play November 2012


The on-line space is incredible in the growing opportunities it offers to music creators and music users but as the lines blur between new and traditional media, so too does it become more difficult to know when you are on the right or wrong side of music licensing. In this month’s issue we look at the use of music in videos and what licences should be in place.

We also feature local online streaming and music purchase website who are not only showcasing new talent, but helping South African musicians to make a real go at the music industry.

With SAMRO’s newly designed website launched last month and the interactive web portal being launched at the end of January 2013, SAMRO proudly steps into the digital future. There is little doubt that the convenience and ease of use promised by these exciting developments is going to change the way you do business with SAMRO; In this newsletter we find out how.

Would you like to have your business profiled in a future newsletter? Please feel free to contact us to enquire – regardless of the size or nature of your business, we look forward to story ideas, comments and profiles for possible; inclusion in Licensed to Play. If you would like to be featured please email with your request.

May you have a safe and blessed holiday season!

Yours in music

Kgomotso Mosenogi
Marketing and Communications Manager: SAMRO


Here’s to a sweetly melodic 2013!

The December holidays are almost upon us and we at SAMRO would like to take this opportunity to wish you – the users, promoters and champions of music – a safe, peaceful and happy festive season.

Many of you – from broadcasters to shopping malls, from clubs to car washes – will be anticipating a boom in business over the next few weeks. We sincerely hope that it is a financially prosperous time for you all.

From a music point of view, however, we would also like to urge you to take advantage of the festive season to give pride of place to music – specifically, music originating from Southern Africa, the region from which most SAMRO members emanate.

Be it background music, live music, music played on radio or TV stations, please do your bit and get your airwaves and venues over-flowing with a merry selection of vibrant homegrown sounds. By embracing “local is lekker” this festive trading period, you will also ensure that the bulk of the licence fee you pay to SAMRO goes back into the pockets of SAMRO members – where, we strongly believe, it belongs.

For those of you celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah, may it be a peaceful and blessed time for you. For others who may be taking an end-of-year break to recharge their batteries and spend quality time with loved ones, we trust you will return revitalised and reinvigorated in the New Year.


Production is a multifaceted media platform, and when it comes to understanding the use of commercial and royalty free music in videos, newcomers to the industry and entrepreneurs starting out are left scratching their heads.; Keitumetse Setshedi, SAMRO’s Broadcasting and Online Transmissions Manager sheds a little light on the subject.

Wesley Cruikshank has recently started up a production company, Machette Productions, primarily filming corporate videos. He currently purchases royalty-free music and isn’t sure whether this content can be used across broadcasting platforms like You-Tube or television.

Royalty Free music is a fantastic tool in the world of production and allows you to use music at will without the need to acquire a licence. Ralph Giraudeaux, Mechanical Rights Manager at SAMRO, however, adds that you will need to contact SAMRO to clarify if the music is indeed royalty free as well as supply them with a cue sheet for use of the music for their records.

“What happens if a client requests the use of a commercial track in video production and what licences would; have to be; in place in order to use the music?” asks Cruikshank.

In this case there are two licensing aspects to look at – performing rights and mechanical rights. A mechanical licence is needed when transferring music from one medium to another in the production process. For example if you were to use a commercial song in a video for public viewing, this song would need to be licensed with SAMRO.

With performing rights licences, Setshedi explains that if the content or programme that you put together will be broadcast by any SA broadcaster or You Tube, SAMRO licenses the broadcaster, not the production house.

Since the broadcasters already have licences, such music will be covered because they already have what is referred to as “blanket licenses” that cover all music which will be broadcast on their channels. “However if the video; will be performed in a public place, the venue would have to be accordingly licensed for such usage,” explains Setshedi.


“The winds of digital change are blowing through SAMRO and by now we hope you have had a chance to look at SAMRO’s newly designed website. The next exciting development to look forward to is the web portal which will take; SAMRO’s processes online and into the future.

On the brink of being launched, the web portal is optimised for convenience and ease-of-use and will change the way you do business with SAMRO.

Currently new licensees go through an elaborate, time consuming process to obtain the relevant SAMRO licences for their business. Still manual, there is much shifting of paper, follow-ups and delays.

The new web portal is going to change all that.; It will allow you to register, access the licensing process and complete everything online, with no hassle or hold up.

“We have identified the current process as a major source of inconvenience and irritation and it is so old” says Stephenson Mhlanga, General Manager of the SAMRO Licensing department.

“Licensees and potential licensees need to be able to comply with SAMRO in a way that doesn’t create unnecessary work for them. The web portal will significantly reduce the time and money spent on the licensing process.”

Once you have registered as a licensee on the web portal, any licensing activity, such as submitting play lists, will take place online. Communication with SAMRO will just get better. Available 24/7, issues and queries will be recorded and resolved far more efficiently, without leaving you frustrated.

“I am really excited about the new web portal. The licensing team can’t wait to deliver convenience and create value for potential and current licensees. We will be able to achieve a far greater penetration and spread our initiative across a much broader spectrum of music users. It is also very pleasing to be associated with SAMRO as it enters a modern era, where business operations are driven by technology,” concluded Mhlanga.

Watch this space for more information about the new web portal coming in January 2013 or visit is a forerunner in the growing trend of online music streaming, and part of setting up their interactive hub of online content has been educating industry newcomers on implementing the relevant SAMRO licences.

Up and coming bands and undiscovered musicians alike will be thrilled with the new platform of exposure offered by; a local online streaming and music purchase website. Its founder, Ruth Harris, is right in saying that gaining recognition in the industry is as tough as starting up a small business, and comes with its fair share of challenges.

Breaking new ground in South Africa, specifically caters to South African musicians and bands who seek a platform to feature their talent, and who want to eventually earn revenue from their works. In addition, they provide marketing platforms and make sure that the right information is relayed to indipendent musicians on how to effectively manage their brand, strike a better deal with a label and make it happen for themselves. has set up a resourceful online campaign called Project #DIY, aimed at gathering expert advice from industry heavyweights to empower new musicians, and assist them on their journey to success.

SAMRO sets the tone for the initiative by supplying an informative video on master rights and composer rights. Xolani Zulu, Mechanical Rights: Accounts Executive at SAMRO enlightens viewers on how to make their music work for them by taking out the correct licence.; Keep up to date with Project #DIY by following the blog on 

Take full advantage of these innovative and supportive services by signing up with on


Producer, musician and SAMRO member DJ Choma, believes that the immediacy of the online space is now one of the most important marketing tools for musicians.

Hailing from Limpopo, SAMRO member Eliyah Papole better known as DJ Choma has been in the music industry for twelve years. He started his career out as a lead singer with the Kwaito and Afro pop band Machessa with Abram Makwala aka Shoes-Mola and shared the stage with artists like Arthur Mafokate and Ringo Madlingozi, before going solo in 2005.

Along with being a professional DJ, keyboardist, drummer, singer and songwriter, DJ Choma also works as a music producer on his record label Choma Productions. DJ Choma’s first album Dance Village Vol.1 was released in 2011 featuring tracks like Da Capo, Problem Child, Envy, RedDeep and Jack Lo Muntu.

As a mobile DJ, Choma is required by SAMRO to have a licence and he submits cue sheets; to SAMRO at the end of each quarter as well as to the club he has performed at for their notification process.

His second album entitled Meropa, produced by himself and Durban producer Dr. Via will be released in December 2012. The first single off the album, also entitled Meropa, is sung in Sepedi, DJ Choma’s mother tongue. His decision to sing in Sepedi is a tribute to where he comes from in Limpopo.; “Much of who I am, is because of where I come from,” he says.DJ Choma not only uses social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, but also mobile products like Black Berry Messenger and Whatsapp to reach his listeners and grow his fan base.

“I believe social media is vitally important for any musician these days. It is quick, free and I get immediate feedback from my fans, even the media cannot give you that.” says DJ Choma who is active online every day promoting his music and live gigs, as well as keeping up with fans and new listeners.

We asked DJ Choma what he thought of the newly designed SAMRO website and the online platforms it offers members. “I love it,” he says. “It is so easy now, you can see all the catergories of membership, the benefits, the types of licences and you can download all the forms.

For me that is very important. I am currently having my website designed,; and I have ensured that there is link to SAMRO, ” he says.


SAMRO gets digitally savvy with their newly designed website and with it various interactive online platforms it offers members and licensees a far more satisfying online experience.

A new development; SAMRO Gig Guide Fridays will ensure that your week; finishes on a high note. If you have a live music venue, then SAMRO’s Gig Guide Fridays is where you want to be. Filled with music events, album launches and live performances happening around the country, it is the perfect space to be list your venue.

“Gig Guide Fridays will be an especially appealing and useful tool to our network of music users, looking to spread awareness and promote performances or music themed events taking place in their venues or clubs” comments Rami Nhlapo, Online Media Specialist at SAMRO.

The events calendar on SAMRO’s new website invites the public to share any music related events happening online and each week or month there will be a featured event, selected and uploaded onto the website. This is just a way for SAMRO to showcase its licensees’ venues and by extension; South African musicians.;

To have your event featured in the calendar please click here visit our new website to submit your event.

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