Licensed to Play October 2012


Performing live at a SAMRO-licensed venue is a wonderful way for music creators to earn royalties, but how can music users help educate bands and musicians about their rights? We answer some of these questions in this edition.

This month, we also bid farewell to long-serving SAMRO Chairman Ms Annette Emdon and welcome the Reverend Abe Sibiya to the helm.

We head down to KwaZulu-Natal and get a taste of featured licensee uShaka Marine World, a multi-licensed venue that relies on music to get visitors into the holiday spirit, and feel some “irie” vibes with the venue’s resident band, reggae act The Meditators.

Would you like to have your SAMRO-licensed business profiled in a future newsletter?

Please feel free to email us at to enquire – regardless of the size or nature of your business, we’d love to hear from you!


Yours in music

Kgomotso Mosenogi
Marketing and Communications Manager: SAMRO


SAMRO-licensed venues and broadcasters can help educate the bands and musicians that they host, by reminding them that they can earn extra income in the form of Needletime royalties.

Composers and authors of original music earn Performing Rights royalties from SAMRO, thanks to the licence fees that SAMRO-licensed music users pay. But there is another revenue stream available to recording artists such uShaka Marine World’s resident band The Meditators, who are featured in this month’s newsletter.

The individuals who have participated in the recording of a single or an album (whether as a vocalist, band member, session musician, instrumentalist or featured artist) may apply for membership of the SAMRO-affiliated Performers’ Organisation of South Africa Trust (POSA), explains POSA’s Executive General Manager, Pfanani Lishivha.

In doing so, they assign their Needletime Rights – also known as “pay for play” rights – to POSA to administer on their behalf. Through Needletime Rights, individual performers or recording artists (as well as their record companies) are eligible to be compensated when their recorded performances and sound recordings are performed publicly – for example, when a song is played on a radio station.

The musician, instrumentalist or backing vocalist need not have written the music or lyrics in order to benefit from Needletime Rights royalties, which are derived from fees payable by broadcasters for the use of sound recordings.

Needletime therefore offers South Africa’s musicians an additional revenue stream beyond that of live performances and royalties paid by record companies, without infringing on or detracting from the rights of composers and authors.

Music users seeking more information on Needletime Rights may contact POSA on or 011 712 8000.

Fish, turtles, sharks and dolphins, wet ‘n wild slides, shopping, live performances and a beach to relax on – uShaka Marine World has it all! Situated in Durban and open 365 days a year, uShaka has been offering visitors its spectacular blend of entertainment since 2004.

The complex is made up of a number of separate attractions, including the biggest aquarium in the southern hemisphere, a water park for those who enjoy a little adrenaline, a shopping complex and the uShaka Kids World.

There are a number of restaurants on offer, as well as various function venues for weddings, corporate events and special occasions. On any given day, uShaka employs up to 140 different acts to perform in the complex – everything from singers and bands to dance acts, jugglers, magicians and comedians.

Music is critical to uShaka’s success. Whether it’s the regular Sunday-afternoon sessions with resident band The Meditators, DJ Spike in the Wet ‘n Wild Park, the soundtracks to the various animal shows or just the background music adding to the overall ambience, it all plays a vital role in creating the relaxed holiday vibe people expect from the venue.

With such a reliance on music, it was important for uShaka Marine World to be licensed with SAMRO, which it has been since it opened its doors. Director of entertainment Wayne Scott explained that while being licensed is mandatory for the complex to function as an entertainment venue, it also forms part of uShaka’s vision of uplifting, promoting and supporting local musicians.

Currently, in conjunction with the Department of Arts and Culture, uShaka is running its annual Search for the Stars programme. Every year uShaka auditions hundreds of amateur and professional music, dance and variety acts from across KwaZulu-Natal, with standout performers being contracted to perform during uShaka’s busy festive summer holiday season. The finals take place on 7 October 2012.

Over the past five years, the complex has created jobs for over 2 500 artists – making it a committed supporter of the local arts and entertainment scene.

Visit to find out more.


“Take a look at what is good and do what is right” is the socially conscious motto of the stereotype-breaking reggae band The Meditators, and it is reflected in their attitude towards their music, performances and lifestyle. They have shunned the stigma that often attaches itself to reggae musicians and offer a strong, positive message in their lyrics and sound.

The seven-piece band is led by composer Shante Bekwa (vocals, guitar) and includes Dan Msomi on guitar and vocals, Bunny Nathi Mkhize on drums, Barret Thabani Hlela on bass guitar, Albert Chemane on percussion, Sfiso Mpanza on keyboards and Simphiwe Mtembu Sikhakane playing the trombone.

The Meditators have been the resident band at uShaka Marine World since it opened in 2004. Their weekly Sunday set has garnered them an avid following, and includes a mix of original music from their four albums as well as popular covers, ranging from Bob Marley to Lucky Dube.

This year they are celebrating their 21st birthday (or “earth day”, as they like to call it), having started life in 1991 as a four-piece in Joburg. The Meditators recorded their first album, Tacklin’ Beast by the Horns, the same year. In 2000 they moved to KwaZulu-Natal, and have since evolved into their current form. As songwriter Bekwa’s spirituality has deepened over the years, so too has the music.

Bekwa has been registered with SAMRO as composer and publisher for several years, having notified his first composition, Break Down Chains, in 1999. The band’s albums include Break Down Chains (1999), Jah Kingdom (2009) and Special Reques’ (2011), and they are currently working on their fifth album, under their own production company Big Up Productions, which they hope to release in time to be considered for next year’s SA Music Awards.

Over the years the band has faced the usual battles of working as full-time musicians, as well as some not-so-usual hurdles – like a fire that destroyed all their equipment in 2007. However, one of their biggest challenges has been the lack of support South African reggae bands receive from local radio stations and production companies. They maintain that limited airplay means a limited audience and fewer album sales, and the title track of Special Reques’ is a musical plea to radio stations to play more South African music.

Their style appeals to a crossover audience and it isn’t surprising to see everyone from the very young to the very old getting up and dancing to their music. Earlier this year, the band partnered with uShaka Marine World to host the successful Bob Marley Earthday Reggae Music Festival and Rasta Fair.

Visit or follow them on Facebook.


SAMRO has appointed the Reverend Abe Sibiya as the new chairman of its Board of Directors, after long-serving incumbent Annette Emdon stepped down.

Sibiya is a well-known composer, producer, publisher, multi-instrumentalist and broadcasting executive, who is the chief executive of the Urban Rhythm Factory music publishing and audio production house. He is also the pastor and founder of the Zoe Bible Church in Ivory Park, and has written songs for the likes of Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Deborah Fraser, Dorothy Masuku and Chicco.

Emdon, who was SAMRO chairman for 15 years, said: “It has been a great privilege to serve during a time of great changes for the company, and I hope going forward that I can still be of service as an ordinary Board member.”

CEO Nick Motsatse said that incoming chairman Sibiya “is young, agile and adaptable, and very much aware of global trends. We look forward to his firm but calm and steady hand in helping steer SAMRO through a new transition – that of the conversion of its corporate form – and beyond.”

Sibiya pledged to build on the efficiencies instituted by the current leadership, particularly as the industry moved into a new digital age that required new ways of thinking and operating. “We must always remember that nothing has changed in the business of music: songs are still king, the melody rules and music lives forever.”

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