The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), as part of its transformation drive on local music content, met with various collecting societies (Southern African Music Rights Organisation, South African Music Performance Rights Association, Independent Music Performance Rights Association and Association of Independent Record Companies).
The engagement was to establish a forum to discuss issues affecting the broadcaster and the music industry to ensure equity and transparency in royalty matters.
A key decision out of the meeting, on 19 May 2016, is the SABC’s increase of royalty payment from three per cent to four per cent on radio for all collecting societies. The SABC has implemented royalty parity for the collecting societies. The SABC is aware that there are artists who do not belong to these societies and this move is also a bid to encourage them to register with collecting societies so they equally benefit as the rest of the registered members, as their music is also played on SABC radio.
The SABC’s COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng stated that “This move is meant to stimulate the music industry, through creating jobs and unearthing new talent. The SABC also wants to restore the dignity and to move away from a situation where creatives in the music industry are dying as paupers. The SABC will set a budget to honour SA music legends such as Babsy Mlangeni, Steve Kekana and Letta Mbuli and those that have passed on, amongst others, for their contribution to the industry. This once-off recognition payment will be in July.’
Motsoeneng further stated that “In the advent of democracy, the creatives should not blame the Government, as the mandate has been very clear from the onset that the implementation of policies depends entirely on leaders within different public institutions such as the SABC.’
The SABC has a clear strategy to invest in local industry development as a consequence of the recently amended editorial policy.
Sean Watson, chairperson of SAMPRA stated “We’re thrilled as SAMPRA by the bold decision taken by the SABC to beat the three per cent rate set by the courts and up it to four per cent. It speaks volumes about the SABC’s passionate commitment to the South African music industry and we are grateful for this proactive approach.’
Dodo Monamedi, chairperson of AIRCO and IMPRA commented “On behalf of IMPRA and AIRCO, we are embracing and remain committed and grateful of the announcement from the SABC about four per cent needle time payments to us as record companies. This means booming sales for our retailers, recording studios and live performances. We will work hand in hand with our stakeholders to educate our people about what needle time is about and its benefits. We shall all endeavour to promote and defend our local markets for all to benefit.’
Arthur Mafokate, representing SAMRO stated “We are very excited and looking forward to artists’ lives changing. We have waited for 30 years for this and we would like to thank the SABC team led by the Motsoeneng.’
The SABC said it values the pivotal role and contribution that musicians play in society.