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  • The Beat Bulletin
  • The - April issue

Dear SAMRO Music Creators

This month we are sad to announce the departure of our long-serving CEO, Nick Motsatse, who has captained the SAMRO ship with integrity during his seven years at the helm, and has helped transform it into the robust and progressive organisation it is today. We at SAMRO wish him well in his future endeavours, and thank him for his years of committed service to South Africa’s music industry and its music creators. In the same breath we extend a warm welcome to our highly capable incoming CEO Sipho Dlamini, who we are confident will continue to grow the organisation from strength to strength.

Entries for SAMRO’s flagship Wawela Music Awards have now closed, and soon we will be announcing which local composers and authors have notched up international success and will take pride of place among the nominees for these coveted accolades.

This month, our membership spotlight falls on two dynamic female musicians whose music and legacy have stood the test of time – Wendy Oldfield and Cindy Alter. We have important news from SAMRO’s parent body, CISAC, plus a report on how two lucky SA bands will be going “Olé!” on Europe’s premier live stages very soon, thanks to a SAMRO Foundation initiative with Spanish festival producers

Plus, read on to find out how you, our members, now have the convenience of notifying your works online.

Would you like to be profiled in a future newsletter? Please contact us at online@samro.org.za – we look forward to your comments and ideas for possible inclusion in The Beat Bulletin.

Enjoy!

Yours in music,

Tiyani Maluleke

General Manager: Marketing – SAMRO

 

 

In this issue
New CEO to take over the reins at SAMRO
Wawela judging process kicks into top gear
Member profile: Cindy Alter
Member profile: Wendy Oldfield
Notify your works with SAMRO via email
Two innovative SA bands to dazzle Spanish audiences
CISAC welcomes authors’ rights ruling

New CEO to take over the reins at SAMRO

SAMRO CEO Nick Motsatse will be stepping down from his role at the end of June this year, and will be replaced by the current Deputy CEO, Sipho Dlamini.

Announcing the move, the Chairman of SAMRO’s Board of Directors, the Reverend Abe Sibiya, described Motsatse as “a chairperson’s dream”. He said he was “one of our great leaders who has decided over a considerable period of time to explore much of what life has to offer while there is sunshine”. Sibiya added that Motsatse’s decision to step down had been a personal one. 

Motsatse said that he had given the matter a great deal of thought and that it was not a decision taken lightly. “I have had the privilege of working with a very competent and supportive Board and I could not ask for any better. My time at SAMRO will always be the highlight of my career as a manager and a leader. I, however, believe that the time is right for new leadership to take this organisation to greater heights,” he said.  

The incoming CEO, Sipho Dlamini, joined SAMRO at the beginning of 2012 as General Manager: Marketing and Business Development. He was promoted to the position of Deputy CEO at the beginning of 2013 to give him an opportunity to work closely with Motsatse. 

Sibiya hailed Dlamini as being “his own man: a thinker, an executive full of promise, articulate, precise and very well versed in this industry.” 

He went on to elaborate: “If we are to manage change well, then we all must believe in the wisdom of preparation and succession. SAMRO is a complicated organisation and so are its processes and relationships, locally and internationally. It begs and calls for a man or woman who can fill the great shoes of previous SAMRO CEOs with distinction, as is the expected tradition.” 

Dlamini said he was deeply honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead “team SAMRO” at this important juncture in its development. “With SAMRO having just passed the half-century mark as an organisation, I am fully aware of the challenges but also the opportunities lying ahead. It is therefore with a sense of excitement and anticipation that I accept this very important responsibility.” 

The rapidly changing business environment, especially for the copyright and music industries, will mean that the new pair of Sibiya and Dlamini will be critical in steering the organisation through some major developments. Fortunately, the track records of both these gentlemen in the music industry and the global business environment are set to stand them in good stead.

Wawela judging process kicks into top gear

SAMRO’s new Wawela Music Awards have been met with an overwhelming response from members, as music creators line up for the chance to have their achievements in international markets applauded and rewarded.

Submissions closed at the beginning of April, and the final list of nominees in various categories will be announced in May. The awards ceremony will take place in Johannesburg on 28 June 2013.

Tiyani Maluleke, SAMRO’s General Manager: Marketing, said: “The enthusiastic response is proof that the awards will serve as a credible platform to recognise special talent from a country that has always produced world-class composers and musicians, ranging from Solomon Linda to Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela, who have exposed the rest of the world to the country’s exceptionally rich and diverse cultural heritage.”

“Now, with the first South African awards that acknowledge our composers and lyricists who have excelled internationally, it is fitting that SAMRO recognises our boundary-breaking stalwarts as well as the current generation of young artists for whom they paved the way.”

Masekela’s recent Grammy nomination, she added, underscores the fact that the country is blessed with international cultural ambassadors of exceptional talent. The Wawela Awards have been divided into three categories, namely: Special Awards, Statistical Awards and Standard Awards, the latter featuring a host of categories that SAMRO members were invited to enter.

Special Awards will include Lifetime Achievement and the Publisher of the Year award, as well as a Breaking through the Borders award. This category of awards recognises composers who have made an exceptional contribution to the music industry throughout their music careers in various media such as film, dance, TV and stage.

The Statistical Awards will be judged using statistical data for each work, and will be awarded for broadcast and live performances as well as for digital and online sales.

The panel of judges, composed of respected industry professionals and academics, is currently hard at work, evaluating all the entries and deliberating on the nominees. Watch this space for further details, or visit www.wawelamusicawards.co.za for updates. Let the countdown begin! 

Member profile: Cindy Alter

Cindy Alter’s name might not immediately ring a bell, but many South Africans will know the song that brought this singer-songwriter and her band Clout global fame – the evergreen hit Substitute.

“I have been a songwriter and musician for 41 years. I have made my living from being who I am,” says Alter, who is also a cancer survivor. Her all-girl pop-rock group Clout rode the crest of the airwaves in the late 1970s and early 1980s, selling over 10 million albums and topping charts around the world, but what has Alter been up to since then? 

After touring with rock legends such as the Police, Supertramp and Dire Straits, Clout disbanded. At the height of apartheid Alter formed the Cindy Alter band, which would later evolve into pioneering cross-cultural African rock band Zia – for which, incidentally, current SAMRO Chairman Abe Sibiya played keyboards. Zia released five albums and toured France, opening for the Bee Gees and Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, and touring with Chicco, Lucky Dube and Stimela, among others. Alter lived in Los Angeles for a spell in the 1990s before returning to South Africa to further her career on home soil.

“I have always been involved in songwriting and ran a songwriter night for three years at the Radium Beer Hall in Johannesburg,” she relates. “I am currently on the executive committee of the Composers’ Association of South Africa, and we host workshops that provide crucial information for composers and songwriters in order to empower and educate them in all matters regarding the writing of music and songs.”

Today, Alter remains as active as ever in the music industry and is about to start a tour of the UK and Germany with her latest band, Alter Irving.

She has warmly welcomed SAMRO’s Wawela Awards, the first awards initiative to honour the achievements notched up by South African music creators internationally. “It is inspiring to see South African musicians acknowledged for their contributions to the music industry locally and abroad,” says Alter. “Artists should continually strive to be the best they can be in their own right and utilise every sphere of their talent.”

• Visit www.cindyalter.com for more information.

Member profile: Wendy Oldfield

Renowned singer/songwriter Wendy Oldfield began her long musical career as the lead singer of the band Sweatband and hasn't really stopped making music since then.

After years of touring and performing with the acclaimed rock outfit, Oldfield left to make a name for herself as a solo artist, which she accomplished with confidence. But what few people know is that Oldfield is the talent behind many of the albums from the successful African Cream Kidz children’s music range, an imprint of independent South African label African Cream Music. 

“There is a shortage of homegrown music for children in South Africa,” she explains. “I was so happy to work on something original that referenced our local experience but that all kids globally could relate to.”  

Under the African Cream Kidz banner, Oldfield has produced Under African Skies – traditional children’s stories set to catchy melodies that celebrate the heritage of oral storytelling. She was also responsible for Singalong Kidz, which won the 2009 SA Music Award for best English children’s album, and its successor, Singalong Kidz 2, which triumphed in the same category in 2012. And her In the Womb — a soothing album for moms-to-be and their tummies – also picked up a SAMA nod.

“It’s always such an honour to win an award,” she says, adding: “It makes me want to begin a new album immediately!” Her children’s albums make use of several indigenous instruments, and she reveals that “working on a kids’ album is challenging, more than you might imagine. It’s not just about slamming together some silly lyrics and melodies. I have so much fun making them.” 

Oldfield has managed to perfect her children’s music formula: since entering the market, the African Cream Kidz imprint has captured the hearts of children everywhere. “I remind myself to keep it simple,” she asserts. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the production and lose sight of the simple delivery that it takes to grab a child’s attention. I focus on the melodies and the importance of the lyrics, keeping the background music clear and simple.” 

The songs are catchy, sometimes hilarious, relevant and infectious. Oldfield continues to perform and tour countrywide and promote her latest releases. As someone who has been a SAMRO member for several years, she says: “My long relationship with SAMRO has been beneficial and I am glad that they are constantly pushing boundaries for their artist members.”

•For further details, visit www.africancreamstore.com or www.wendyoldfield.co.za

 

Notify your works with SAMRO via email

Good news for existing and prospective SAMRO members is that applying for membership and notifying new works has been made far easier – and can now be done electronically.

As of 1 April 2013, authors and composers applying for SAMRO membership no longer need to provide proof of copyright ownership. Previously, members had to provide proof of copyright in the form of a CD, cassette, MP3 and so on. To apply for membership, applicants can simply visit www.samro.org.za, download the three required forms (membership application, notification of works and deed of assignment), complete them, and then sign and email them back to SAMRO (24-7@samro.org.za).  A copy of the applicant’s ID/passport should also be sent with the membership application forms. 

As for existing SAMRO members, the notification of works form can be sent to 24-7@samro.org.za. Members no longer need to submit a CD, cassette or MP3 of the song they wish to notify. 

As long-standing members of SAMRO, both Wendy Oldfield and Cindy Alter (profiled above) are thrilled with the new notification of works system. Says Oldfield: “I’m very happy. It’s great – very specific and much easier to understand.” Adds Alter: “I think the new system being implemented regarding the notification of works will be very user-friendly. I, for one, really appreciate how easy SAMRO has made it for writers to register their songs online.”

Two innovative SA bands to dazzle Spanish audiences

The Johannesburg Vis-à-Vis Project by Casa África and the SAMRO Foundation has ended with the bands Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness and Touchwood being selected to tour European festivals later this year.

Spanish cultural producers and festival programmers expressed their excitement at the “enormous potential” of the current South African music scene, which is bursting with young groups displaying great talent and the potential to penetrate international music markets.

The project was organised by Casa África and the SAMRO Foundation, with the support of the Spanish Embassy in South Africa. 

The two successful bands, who were chosen on the basis of their live performances following three nights of showcase gigs, are Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) from Johannesburg and Touchwood from Cape Town. They were among the 12 acts shortlisted to perform for the Spanish delegation out of 89 submissions received, and will now have the opportunity to play live at prestigious European festivals such as Pirineos Sur, Etnosur, La Mar de Músicas, Mumes Tenerife and the Heineken Jazz & Mas Festival of the Canary Islands.

The Vis-à-Vis Project, now in its fourth edition, promotes greater knowledge of African music in Spain through direct exchange between the producers of Spanish festivals and African musicians. The Spanish Ambassador in South Africa, Juan Sell, who attended the concerts, said that Casa África's project had been received with enthusiasm by the South Africans, who had seen Spain’s real interest in African culture, in this case for its emerging music talent. 

With regard to the winning groups, the producers noted that “BCUC stood out due to its intensity and strength when playing live in a very personal, energetic and original approach”. The group is made up of five musicians, who achieve an intimate sound through a bass drum, congas, guitars and multiple percussion instruments and whistles. BCUC integrates African indigenous rhythms with styles such as funk and soul, rooted in South African music traditions.

The multi-instrumentalist four-piece band Touchwood surprised the jury with a fresh and contemporary approach to what seemed to be ’70s western folk music, introducing Southern African rhythms and an interesting array of instruments, including the cello as a bass, as well as the ukulele, violin and marimba.  

Audiences were wowed over three nights by the diversity, quality and potential of the groups, all of which could have easily appeared on European festival stages. The encounter has made Spanish producers aware of the presence of young groups who are reinterpreting and giving a personal touch to traditional music, as well as the popularity of hip-hop locally and the high level of electronic and experimental offerings.

 

CISAC welcomes authors’ rights ruling

SAMRO’s international parent body, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), has welcomed the European Court’s judgment to uphold CISAC’s appeal against the 2008 European Commission decision on authors’ rights.

In doing so, the allegation that CISAC and its member societies had engaged in a concerted practice in order to restrict competition has been finally rejected. 

 

“This is a very important decision for authors and their collective management organisations throughout the European Union,” said Olivier Hinnewinkel, director-general of CISAC. “It allows us to get back to the job of ensuring the three million creators and rights holders that we represent obtain a fair income from the use of their creative work, and to continue developing licensing models that meet the market’s needs.” 

 

The so-called “CISAC case” began with two complaints in the early 2000s against the model contract for reciprocal representation developed by CISAC many years ago and the agreements signed based on this contract between CISAC members in Europe. When the European Commission’s decision eventually came in 2008 to uphold these complaints, only one issue remained – the assertion that the 24 European CISAC societies had violated EU competition rules by co-ordinating the territorial scope of their reciprocal representation agreements. Other issues – relating to membership conditions and exclusivity – have already been addressed by CISAC and its members through amendments to the model contract and changes to individual contracts between European societies. 

 

CISAC had always firmly maintained that no co-ordination had taken place in this manner to restrict competition; an appeal was therefore lodged and has now been successfully upheld. 

 

“There are important implications for the general public as well as for authors,” continued Hinnewinkel. “The great majority of our members’ livelihoods rely on receiving a fair income for their work. Today’s decision allows us to continue our work in championing sustainable licensing solutions that share the benefits of this art while ensuring the next generation of creators can continue to produce work to enrich all of our lives.” 

•Visit www.cisac.org for more details.