Samro makes royalties' circle bigger

Singer Vusi Nova and Ntokozo Mbambo perform a duet at the South African Sport Awards 2013 held in Sun City. Photo: Tsheko Kabasia
Singer Vusi Nova and Ntokozo Mbambo perform a duet at the South African Sport Awards 2013 held in Sun City. Photo: Tsheko Kabasia

The SA Music Rights Organisation (Samro) and the SA Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra) have reached an agreement on the administration and distribution of needletime rights royalties.

"This agreement will ensure that needletime rights royalties are finally distributed to deserving record companies and recording artists," Samro CEO Sipho Dlamini said in a statement on Friday.

"We as Samro are very excited that recording artists... will reap the fruits of their toil."

Needletime rights are royalties paid to recording artists when a song is used. These are people who help in the recording of music, such as session musicians and backing vocalists.

Sampra board chairman Keith Lister said the agreement resolved a long-standing dispute with the Performers Organisation of SA (Posa Trust), a subsidiary of Samro, on sharing needletime rights royalties between record companies and performers/recording artists.

It was not clear how long the dispute had gone on for.

In terms of the agreement, Sampra and the Posa Trust would merge to form a single needletime rights society that represented both record companies and performers.

"This society, to be known as Sampra will have two chambers -- the record companies' chamber and the performers' chamber," a joint statement said.

"The two chambers will have equal powers and equal representation on the board of the new organisation."

The merger had been approved by the Registrar of Copyright Astrid Ludin.

"She granted formal accreditation to the joint society after various formal requirements had been met. The merger is also in line with the recommendation of the Copyright Review Commission that there should be one society per set of rights."

Lister said the agreement was intended to take "us much further than just resolving issues about needletime".

"If anything, the long-standing dispute over needletime has increased our resolve to work together to generate revenues for the music industry as a whole from the licensing of music recordings and the music compositions embodied in them."

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