SAMRO membership explained
Not everyone is aware that as a songwriter or composer, you don't merely snap your fingers and instantly become a SAMRO member. There are certain procedures and steps that have to be followed by anyone applying for membership, whether they are a composer or author just starting out or a big-name superstar.
First of all, you will need to submit the three required application forms (membership application, notification of works and deed of assignment) along with proof of identity and a copy of the recording (CD) or the sheet music. Plus, in the case of partnerships, CCs and private companies, you'll need to provide copies of the relevant agreements, founding statements and memoranda or articles of association.
After you apply to be a SAMRO member, the SAMRO Board will check that the works you have notified are active - in other words, that they have been commercially recorded, or broadcast on TV or radio during the preceding two years, or performed in public during that period. If any of those criteria are met, the Board is likely to grant you what is known as elected ordinary membership status.
Depending on how long you have been a member and the level of your royalty earnings, there are various levels of SAMRO membership for which you may be eligible. They include: prospective membership, applicant membership, nominee interim membership, elected ordinary membership and full membership.
And once you become an elected ordinary SAMRO member, there are several benefits, such as a retirement annuity and funeral benefit, with no contributions required from your side. In addition to the convenience of having your royalties deposited directly into your account when your music is used by licensees, members also qualify for an annual non-royalty revenue bonus.
So, if you know of anyone who is thinking of applying for SAMRO membership, ask them to contact us at the 24/7 Communication Hub, using the contact numbers listed below. They may just qualify to become part of our dynamic winning team with over 12,000 members!
The nuts and bolts of Mechanical Rights
Most members know SAMRO as a Performing Rights administration organisation, but did you know you can also assign the Mechanical Rights in your musical works to SAMRO?
A Mechanical Right applies when a musical work is legally reproduced from one medium to another for public use. Examples of this are making commercial copies of recordings on cassette, CD, DVD, tape, video, computer hard drives, cell phones (ringtones and track downloads), MP3 players, or any other medium.
Mechanical Rights (also known as reproduction rights) is another way for music creators and authors (composers and lyricists) to earn money from their creative talents.
The creator of the music can authorise an organisation such as SAMRO (or a music publisher) to administer the Mechanical Rights in his/her works. SAMRO will then license and collect licence fees, which will later be distributed to members in the form of royalties, from music users.
These users include TV and radio broadcasters, production houses, advertising agencies, DJs (who make copies, cover versions and compilation CDs), record companies and digital service providers that make music accessible via the internet, cellphones (ringtones and downloads), and other technological media (e.g. iPods).
If your work is reproduced via a recording, you will receive royalties in annual distributions.
So, just to recap: Mechanical Rights refers to the royalties earned by composers, authors, lyricists and publishers when their musical works are physically reproduced, for example on a CD, hard drive or cellphone.
Want to know more about assigning your Mechanical Rights to SAMRO? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured licensee of the month: Native Rhythms Lounge
Having decided to expand his successful Native Rhythms Productions in a new direction, award-winning producer Sipho Sithole is now also making live music waves with his Native Rhythms Lounge in Rosebank.
Whether it's the teasing tones of a new artist making their debut or a seasoned jazz muso lost in the juiciness of a satisfying riff, there is nothing quite like the intimacy of live music.
An upmarket rehearsal and performance venue, Native Rhythms Lounge, located in Tyrwhitt Avenue, offers bands and musicians two fully equipped, state-of-the-art soundproof studios. The lounge is also a great space for private functions, conferences, intimate performances, CD launches and music showcases.
Having opened just under a year ago, Native Rhythms Lounge has already been the venue of choice for several top-class musicians. Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, The Soil, Nkulee Dube and, most recently, Native Rhythms Productions' newly signed artist, the Mozambican singer-songwriter Isabel Novella, have all delighted in the distinctive character of the venue.
It is a place where musicians and music lovers meet, sustaining the culture of live performance and developing an appreciative audience.
Licensed with SAMRO in January this year, the venue is also playing its part in ensuring that the musicians it hosts are not only applauded, but are paid their dues. Both the music played through speakers and the live music performances that make this venue so special require Native Rhythms Lounge to have a SAMRO licence.
"The licensing of live venues by SAMRO ensures the continuous collection of performance royalties so that composers can earn a living from their work," says Sithole.
Contact Native Rhythms Lounge at (011) 447-5199, visit www.nativerhythms.co.za or check out Native Rhythms on Facebook.
SAMRO member profile: DJ Lulo Café
Popular house DJ Lulo Café has discovered the benefits of SAMRO membership first-hand - he had to become a member in order to perform at SAMRO's glitzy 50th anniversary celebrations earlier this year.
"It was good to know that SAMRO gives business to its members, so it made sense to join," says Lulo, who was born Sikhululo Maliwa. "The process was rather simple and the service they offer promises to be beneficial."
Lulo and the Naked DJ, aka Quinton Masina, present the Friday-night Audiogasm show on Metro FM and their services were enlisted by SAMRO to ensure its golden jubilee party was an event to remember.
In addition to being a radio DJ, Lulo is an in-demand house music producer and club DJ who freely admits that his life revolves around music. He says being a SAMRO member "helps grow the industry in the bigger scheme of things, as all public broadcast and performance of music will be accounted for".
"It really helps determine my musical creations' realistic worth... also, it could help me grow in other parts of the music business independently."
And, very importantly, Lulo adds, his recently acquired SAMRO membership "also gives the business of DJing a platform for sustainability".
DJs, he has come to realise, do not only need to be members of SAMRO to protect their own original work, but in many cases also have to be licensed with SAMRO if they are playing the tracks of others in public. He believes there needs to be more education and awareness in this regard, in order to grow the local music industry.
"There's a lot of talent in this country, and this sort of knowledge could really contribute to their sustainability in the industry."
So says one of SA's hottest movers, shakers and hit-makers! Be sure to catch up with Lulo on Facebook or Twitter.
SA composers get top billing in global music library
An exciting USA/South African music library for film, television and other media is providing SAMRO members with a golden opportunity to tap into a new revenue stream.
Lalela - which is Zulu for "listen" - is a production music library that aims to showcase top American and South African composers.
It was launched in 2009, and CBS, MTV, DreamWorks and Sony PlayStation 3 have already used music from the Lalela library. Recent high-profile placements include promos for CSI and The Amazing Race in the USA.
The initiative was spearheaded by celebrated South African composer and SAMRO member Alan Lazar (who composed the music for celebrated South African film Jerusalema and Golden Globe-nominated crime drama An American Crime), who is now based in Los Angeles. Lazar also co-wrote the stirring score for the film Otelo Burning, which was nominated for best soundtrack in the 2012 African Movie Academy Awards, dubbed "the African Oscars".
He envisages the Lalela library becoming a significant new revenue stream for local composers.
"For way too long, production music libraries, which account for a high percentage of the music used on South African TV productions, have been dominated by international libraries," says Lazar. "So in the end, it's UK and US composers and companies largely benefiting from performance royalties for the library tracks.
"With Lalela, that's being dramatically changed. We are a 100% South African-
owned company and 60% of our composers are South African. So performance royalties from SAMRO for Lalela go mainly to South Africans."
He says Lalela is also reversing the trend of importing international production music - instead, South African composers' material is now being distributed in 36 countries by Lalela's sub-publishers.
SAMRO members can check it out - and enquire about having works listed and/or licensed - at www.lalela.com Tanya Douman at Lalela's Cape Town office can be reached at (021) 481-4579, or email: email@example.com.
Introducing the SAMRO 24/7 Facebook app
SAMRO has announced a brand-new Facebook application to make communication with its members even easier.
The SAMRO 24/7 Facebook App is a new social networking facility that allows users to contact the SAMRO 24/7 communication hub with any queries or requests, at any time. It means that members no longer have to write on SAMRO's Facebook wall to get in touch - the app will provide direct access to the 24/7 consultants online.
As with the 24/7 email address, SAMRO undertakes to respond to queries submitted via the Facebook app within an hour of receiving them, and to provide feedback on the status of queries within 24 hours.
Contact us - at any time, even over weekends - with any queries relating to your SAMRO membership by clicking on the 24/7 app tab located next to the photo tab on the SAMRO Facebook timeline.
Facebook app: www.facebook.com
SAMRO - at your service 24/7!