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  • The Beat Bulletin
  • October 2012

Dear SAMRO Music Creators

Change is in the air... but it is, without a doubt exciting change for SAMRO and our members, as we prepare to change our corporate form. We invite you to attend the upcoming AGM and find out all about SAMRO's proposed conversion to a primary co-operative.

In this edition, we'll also find out more about reciprocal agreements with our sister collecting societies around the world, enabling our members to easily earn royalties wherever they are on the planet.

In exciting news we are proud to announce that SAMRO's new and interactive website is now live and is part of the first of phase in preparation for the launch of our web portal in January 2013. The web portal will allow you as the user to interact more efficiently and effectively with your SAMRO account online. Watch this space for more information about the web portal!

Plus, find out how this works in practice as we profile South African-born, USA-based singer-songwriter Jonathan Butler and his South African management company, Fluid Media Entertainment. And SAMRO continues its decades-long commitment to music education with the sponsorship of a music competition for primary school learners.

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
Music creators urged to have their say at SAMRO AGM
New SAMRO website to enhance your online experience
How SAMRO's reciprocal agreements benefit you
Member Profile: Jonathan Butler
Featured licensee of the month: Fluid Media Entertainment
SAMRO gives a headstart to promising young musicians

Music creators urged to have their say at SAMRO AGM

SAMRO invites all its members to attend the annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday, 30 November 2012, at which its conversion to a new corporate form will be discussed and voted on.

The AGM takes place at SAMRO Place in De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg at 9am. All SAMRO members are welcome to attend.

SAMRO has been holding a series of workshops and consultation sessions across the country in the run-up to the AGM, to educate music creators about the company's proposed conversion to a primary co-operative. This change in its corporate form has been made necessary by the new Companies Act (No. 71 of 2008), which does not make provision for SAMRO's previous status as a company limited by guarantee.

Neither of the initial options available to SAMRO - to become a not-for-profit company or a for-profit company - was suited to the nature and manner of its business. SAMRO needs to be able to distribute revenue to its members, including non-royalty revenue, and provide them with benefits such as the SAMRO Retirement Annuity Fund and the SAMRO Funeral Benefit Scheme.

Therefore, the Board of Directors consulted legal experts and concluded that the best business model to serve SAMRO and its members would be to convert to a primary co-operative.

SAMRO encourages members to attend the AGM, where this process and its implications will again be explained in full, and the new corporate form will be voted on. As an author and creator of music, it's in your interest to add your voice to the debate!

Contact the SAMRO 24-7 Communication Hub with any queries or comments on the forthcoming AGM. Check out www.samro.org.za for more details and view a special video message by CEO Nick Motsatse.

For your convenience, we have also translated the message from the CEO into all South Africa's official languages. To view the podcast version of the message from the CEO in your preferred language, visit the SAMRO YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/SAMROMusic?feature=watch

New SAMRO website to enhance your online experience

SAMRO is proud to announce that its new website is going live in November 2012 - offering music creators and users a more interactive, convenient and user-friendly online space.

From the 31st of October 2012, when you visit www.samro.org.za you will be met with a visually attractive and easily navigable website that is organised in such a way as to help users access the information they are looking for with minimal fuss.

The website content has also been simplified, without compromising on the integrity of the core information.

The site is more interactive than ever, making use of cutting-edge technology called "responsive design" to ensure that regardless of the device you use to access the website (smart phones, tablets, desktop computers, laptops and so on), the website will automatically adjust to your browser. This eliminates the need for a separate mobisite.

Here are some of the SAMRO website's key features:

  • Careers - Users can apply for SAMRO jobs online and submit their CVs electronically;
  • Search - The user is able to search for information contained within the website;
  • Events - Music creators and members of the public may submit their events to be featured on the website;
  • SAMRO newsletters and SAMRO Notes - Users can access, view and download SAMRO publications from the site as a PDF or electronic magazine (e-zine);
  • Sign up/subscribe option to SAMRO newsletters;
  • Social media and RSS feeds integration;
  • Users will be able to send SAMRO an e-mail directly from the Contact Us page.

SAMRO is confident that its revamped online presence experience will make the website visitor experience more enjoyable, useful and simple. We urge you to play around with the various functionalities and let us know what you think.

How SAMRO's reciprocal agreements benefit you

Did you know that if your music is performed or played in public in another country, you should still be able to earn royalties that will be channelled to you via SAMRO?

SAMRO has a broad range of reciprocal agreements and affiliations in place with some 225 foreign societies in 150 countries around the world.

These pacts enable SAMRO to collect music royalties locally to distribute to members of international societies. Those overseas societies, in turn, collect royalties due to SAMRO members in their own territories and pass them on to SAMRO to distribute to its music creators.

This means that you do not need to go through the headache of joining other collective administration societies in the countries where your music is played or where you travel to perform live - you just need to make sure SAMRO has an agreement in place with the relevant foreign society, and that the correct playlists and performance returns are submitted to that society.

Of course, you should also double-check that the composition details you provide match those that you have submitted to SAMRO when you originally notified your works, so that no confusion arises over misspelt song titles, names and so on.

Member Profile: Jonathan Butler

As a prolific songwriter who has crafted memorable tunes for more than 30 years in genres spanning pop, jazz, R&B and gospel, Jonathan Butler definitely knows the enduring value of intellectual property.

The celebrated South African-born musician recently returned home, where he played to sold-out houses during his Evolution concert tour in Johannesburg and Cape Town, alongside his dear friends from yesteryear, Ronnie Joyce and Lionel Petersen.

Fans were thrilled to relive Butler hits such as Lies, as well as be exposed to some of his newer material and his vintage songs from the 1970s - rewinding to the time when he was a local teenage pop idol who ruled the airwaves and attracted hysterically screaming crowds wherever he performed.

But the Grammy nominee also surprised and delighted television audiences by composing a new song on the spot in the e.tv studio during a promotional appearance one morning. This impromptu act not only confirmed Butler's natural and innate talent, but also underscored the fact that each and every original composition by an artist is an asset whose value cannot be underestimated.

Whether performed in person by the artist himself, broadcast, sung by someone else or otherwise reproduced, a song - regardless of whether it takes five minutes or five months to compose - is a lasting legacy, an asset whose value continues to appreciate.

Butler has just released a new gospel album, Grace and Mercy, and is planning more local dates this year - including offering fans a chance to join him on a nine-day luxury jazz safari at the beginning of November.

Visit www.jonathanbutler.com for more information and tour dates.

Featured licensee of the month: Fluid Media Entertainment

As an agency that promotes music, comedy and other shows, one of the first things on Fluid Media Entertainment's to-do list for each event is to take out a SAMRO licence.

Explains the agency's Jarrod Aston: "Each time we do a music show, we always take out a SAMRO licence, and are subsequently sent an invoice based on ticket receipts. We then pay SAMRO the necessary fees."

He adds that although the onus is on artists/musicians to submit set lists of songs played during their concerts to SAMRO, the promoter will often have to step in to ensure that this requirement is complied with.

Fluid Media is primarily responsible for supplying live entertainment to casino complexes such as the Tsogo Sun and Sun International groups, for private, corporate and public events. These performers range in nature from jugglers and face-painters to buskers and musicians.

"We also look after artists' branding, marketing and public image - a lot of them don't know how to handle that facet of the business," explains Aston who, as a former musician with the bands Face to Face and Cinema, certainly knows what he's talking about.

"In South Africa they'll perhaps have an agent, a tour manager, a publisher and a label, with everyone taking a piece of the pie. The artist will walk away with a small piece of that pie and can really be taken for a ride if they don't understand the business."

As Jonathan Butler's South African management agency, Fluid Media recently brought out the Cape Town-born superstar for his highly successful and widely acclaimed Evolution tour.

Thanks to SAMRO's reciprocal agreements in place with major societies throughout the world, Butler's music creator royalties from his South African performances will be processed by SAMRO and sent to his foreign society, and subsequently distributed to the artist himself.

Visit www.fluidmedia.co.za to find out more.

SAMRO gives a headstart to promising young musicians

The SAMRO Foundation has once again cemented its commitment to youth music development with its sponsorship of the SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy Music Competition, which rewards excellence at primary school level. Now in its second year with SAMRO as the main sponsor, this prestigious youth music competition was held at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow in September.

The event, which identifies the best young instrumentalists in the country over four tough rounds, is presented by the Tygerberg branch of the South African Society of Music Teachers.

The 13-year old cellist Sinéad Symons from Brackenfell in the Western Cape claimed the gold medal as well as first prize in the strings category. Second prize went to Althea Steynberg (13, recorder) and third prize to Alexander Whitehead (11, cello), both from Johannesburg.

Interestingly, young Alexander has been studying with Sydney-based Takao Mizushima via Skype since the youngster's family moved to South Africa in 2010.

In the category for students from disadvantaged communities, the most promising candidate was violinist Ramabole Rampeta (14, from Bloemfontein). He is a student of Francois Henkins, whose Mangaung String Project was named the best development programme.

The judges were respected musicians and academics Nina Schumann, Felicia Lesch and Kutlwano Masote.

André le Roux, Executive General Manager of the SAMRO Foundation, remarked: "The sample of emerging talent from primary school level that we experienced during the competition bodes well for the future of classical music in our country." He said he hoped the youngsters would continue honing their skills to the extent that they would compete for a SAMRO Overseas Scholarship one day in the future.

Visit www.samrofoundation.org.za to find out more.