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South African Music Rights Organisation


  • The Beat Bulletin
  • September 2012

Dear SAMRO members

You may not realise it while you are busy composing a new work, but you are creating something of lasting value – not just to those who appreciate your music, but to you and your descendants too.

In this edition, we examine the enduring legacy of copyright, and touch on some alternative revenue streams that you can explore to maximise your royalties. Plus, we head to KwaZulu-Natal and take the plunge with uShaka Marine World, our featured music user of the month, and learn more about the value of intellectual property from Afro-soul sensation Nomfusi.

Great news is that SAMRO recently appointed the Reverend Abe Sibiya as chairman of its Board of Directors – you can read more about this, and SAMRO's member consultation workshops, in this month's newsletter.

Would you like to be featured in The Beat Bulletin? Please forward your news and editorial submissions to online@samro.org.za for consideration.

Yours in music,

Kgomotso Mosenogi
Marketing and Communications Manager: SAMRO

In this issue
Members give thumbs-up to SAMRO 24/7
The value of copyright – your lasting legacy
Poor musician, rich musician: How to earn passive income from your music
Featured licensee of the month: uShaka Marine World, Durban
SAMRO member profile: Nomfusi Gotyana
SAMRO welcomes new chairman on board

Members give thumbs-up to SAMRO 24/7

SAMRO has begun the process of consulting members nationwide regarding the proposed conversion of its corporate form to a co-operative.

The Member Consultation Workshops have already taken place in Cape Town and Johannesburg, many thanks to all the members who were able to attend; your input thus far has been invaluable to this entire process.

Please note that the remaining workshops are set to take place at the Protea Hotel (Ranch Resort) in Polokwane on Tuesday, 2 October 2012 from 10h00; at the Premier Hotel Regent in East London on Thursday, 4 October 2012 from 10h00.

Durban based member please take note that session 2 of the Durban workshop has been cancelled and all members are encouraged to attend the 11am session at the BAT Centre on Tuesday, 9 October 2012.

Contact SAMRO at the 24/7 numbers listed below should you wish to attend one of the workshops.

The value of copyright – your lasting legacy

There is a saying that a diamond is forever. Copyright in an original work may not last forever but, like a precious gem, it can be an extremely valuable and enduring asset to the owner.

This is because not only does the composer/author of a music work profit from its use while he or she is alive, but their family, estate or beneficiaries will keep on earning royalties from the music for 50 years after the music creator's death.

Copyright is an exclusive set of rights granted to a music creator – someone who composes original music or writes original lyrics. These rights ensure that the songwriter receives fair compensation in the form of royalties when a work is used in any form. This includes performing the work in public, or broadcasting, adapting, reproducing, publishing, distributing, synchronising to video or electronically transmitting it.

In South Africa, the intellectual property that goes into creating a song is protected by the Copyright Act (No. 98 of 1978) and the Performers' Protection Act (No. 11 of 1967).

These laws ensure that whoever created the composition owns the copyright in it while they are alive, and for 50 years after their death. During that period, anyone who wants to reproduce the work in any form must seek permission from the composer or author, his/her heirs and any other rights holders – and must pay for using it.

After the 50-year period has expired, the work becomes part of the public domain and may be used without compensating the author or composer's heirs.You may cede part of the copyright in your works to other parties while you are alive – such as publishers and producers. Such rights should not, however, be given away lightly and it is in your best interests to do your homework before signing on any dotted lines.

So the fruits of your creative spirit are protected by copyright in theory – but how do you enforce it in practice?

Unlike trademarks or patents, legally, a composer or writer does not need to register copyright in their creative works. But as long as the work exists in physical form – in other words, not only as an idea in your head – it is automatically copyrighted. So it must be written down or recorded in order to be eligible for copyright protection.

Remember, though, that when you notify your works with a collective administration society such as SAMRO, you are protecting your copyright (see article below). So be sure to value your copyright – the gift that keeps on giving!

Poor musician, rich musician: How to earn passive income from your music

Many artists feel that they do not earn an income that can sustain them and their families. At the same time, most are unaware of intellectual property: what it is, what it is worth and how to get the most out of it.

The entire concept of royalties is based on the existence of intellectual property and the fact that one can and should earn money from it. From the moment of creation, the artist is recognised by South African copyright law as the author of the piece and the owner of the right to copy it, or copyright. However, to be able to defend that right in a court of law, one needs to ensure that one can prove ownership.

The easiest way for musicians to do this is to lodge their music with SAMRO. Just sign up to become a member and lodge the notification of works. SAMRO's acceptance of the notification serves as legal proof of the date from which the artist can defend their right to be recognised as the author of the piece.

Once this is done, every time a recording of that music gets played on any licensed medium , the music creator earns royalties. Plus, every time music creators perform their own compositions live, they can also earn a royalty by submitting live performance royalty sheets. So the music creator earns twice when playing live: the performance fee (from the venue/promoter) and the performance royalty (from SAMRO).

Another overlooked income stream is licensing. Physical sales are on the decline globally and this trend is also affecting South Africa. In addition, digital sales here are slow to take off. This means that music creators need to be leveraging every avenue possible, of which synchronisation or licensing deals are probably the most lucrative. Most composer/authors will need assistance from a publisher or a synch agent, but even after giving away percentages of these earnings in commissions, it is still worthwhile.

South Africa's digital download market will grow, but in the meantime, there is still a major global market that you can only access if you are available online. It makes business and promotional sense. Music creators need to make sure they put a deal in place for mobile and ringtones and then market it.

Musicians also need to realise that they can earn money from writing songs for other artists to perform and record. More composers and authors need to explore getting their music into jingles, licensing their songs to other artists and writing soundtracks.

Today, artists can earn money from playing shows and selling CDs, but they can make an almost passive living from all these other avenues. If more musicians paid serious attention to getting these streams up and running, there would be fewer sad tales of great artists ending up broke.

Article reproduced with the kind permission of David Chislett, author of 1, 2, 1, 2: A Step-By-Step Guide To The SA Music Industry. This handbook is available for R200 from www.davidchislett.co.za

Featured licensee of the month: uShaka Marine World, Durban

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 www.ushakamarineworld.co.za to find out more.

SAMRO member profile: Nomfusi Gotyana

Protecting your copyright with SAMRO is your birthright – so says South African Music Award and Metro FM Award nominee Nomfusi, whose star is firmly on the rise with the release of a new album and a starring role as the late Miriam Makeba in the eagerly awaited Nelson Mandela biopic, Long Walk to Freedom.

The 26-year-old Afro-soul singer-songwriter released her second album, Take Me Home, in September, produced by the legendary Ringo Madlingozi as well as Robbie Malinga and M'Jakes, famous for their work with multiplatinum-selling artist Zahara.

The single Uthando Lwam (also known as Qam Qam) recently hit the national airwaves and - fittingly, given her latest starring role – features the signature "click" sounds made famous by Mama Afrika herself. Nomfusi wrote the song as a tribute to her beloved husband, Mike.

It's been a spectacular three-year rise for the "little diva with the big voice" from the Eastern Cape, who has already toured the world a phenomenal 10 times and has performed with the likes of Angelique Kidjo in Canada, as well as at the WOMAD world music festival in England.

In the demanding music industry of today, Nomfusi knows that hard work will make her stand out from the pack. "Every song has a meaning," she says. "I think I have a story to tell, having had to endure some very hard times." These include her mother passing away when she was only 12 years old.

Life, says Nomfusi, is about choices – and she made the correct one to not be a victim of circumstance but rather to empower herself through the magical medium of music. The same applies to one's copyright, she believes: "You can choose to protect your own intellectual property, or you can ignore it and rob your children forever of their legacy.

"The beauty of composing music is that you can leave something of yourself behind that will live on beyond your physical years. It's important, though, that you take all the necessary steps to register your work with SAMRO, so that you will not only benefit from it in your own lifetime, but that your children and your children's children can also still reap the benefits."

And the last, emphatic, word belongs to her: "Notifying SAMRO of your works is the best retirement policy!"

Check out Nomfusi on Facebook to find out more.

SAMRO welcomes new chairman on board

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, borah 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."