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South African Music Rights Organisation


There are three basic types of music rights that are covered in SAMRO’s scope of operation. They are Performing Rights, Mechanical Rights and Needletime Rights. Each of these rights pertains to different artists and Music Creators who participate in the production of musical works.

Until 2014, SAMRO was also responsible for administering the Mechanical Rights of SAMRO members. Now  the Mechanical Rights of SAMRO members are administered through a organisation called Composers, Authors & Publishers Association (CAPASSO). 


Mechanical Rights:

Mechanical Rights royalties are earned by music composers, lyricists and publishers when their musical works are copied onto CD, DVD, tape, video, MP3 or computer hard drive, or as cellphone ringtones. For example, every time a song is legally bought and downloaded online, Mechanical Rights ensure the owners of the song get their hard earned royalties. 

As of 2014, the royalties earned through Mechanical Rights are administered through the Composers, Authors & Publishers Association (CAPASSO). SAMRO no longer manages this form of music right. 

So how does this affect your SAMRO membership? It’s simple. There will be a hand-over period of 12 months to allow you to contact us to cancel your Mechanical Rights with SAMRO and sign up as a CAPASSO member. After 12 months, SAMRO will officially stop dealing with Mechanical Rights altogether, so it is very important that you join CAPASSO if you want to keep enjoying the benefit of Mechanical Rights on your music. 

Only Mechanical Rights are affected. You’ll still be a SAMRO member, and we will still administer your Performing Rights as usual. 

Needletime Rights:

Needletime Rights royalties are earned by recording artists (such as musicians, singers or backing vocalists, and studio producers). They may not have actually written or composed the song, but they helped to record it. They score when their recorded performance is played or performed in public, for example, on a radio station. They don’t get as much as the person who owns the song, but they get their fair share.

Performing Rights:

Performing Rights are royalties earned by the people who own the musical work. They’re the people who create original works – such as composers, lyricists or music publishers. They earn royalties when their musical creations are performed in public – for example when they are played on the radio or on TV, or at a concert.