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Friday, December 26, 2008


Leading collecting society in the African continent now accredited to administer the Public Playing Rights.

SAMRO is the leading collecting society in the African continent. It grants licences on behalf of composers and publishers of music for the use of musical works in broadcasts, performance in public, transmission through a diffusion service as well as when music is recorded or reproduced (mechanical rights). SAMRO has recently been accredited by the Copyright and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) to administer the Public Playing Rights (Needletime) on behalf of performers.

With a total membership in excess of 16,000 - of which close to 7,000 are composers whose music is actively used commercially and have assigned their rights to SAMRO - SAMRO is a significant contributor to the music economy. It has also played a significant role in the establishment of industry bodies such as Moshito Music Industry Exhibition and Conference, the South African Music Export Council as the Association of Independent Record Labels (AIRCO). South African music writers will be unwrapping an early Christmas present this month, in the form of a R56.8 million non-royalty revenue distribution from the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO).

This annual payout is over and above the performing rights royalties that SAMRO members receive, and represents income from interest earned on cash held while awaiting distribution.

SAMRO deposits the licensing revenue it receives from music users in interest-bearing financial instruments such as fixed deposits, to ensure that there is no financial risk to members until distributions are declared, explains Chief Operating Officer Gregory Zoghby. The return on these investments is paid out once a year as non-royalty revenue.

“Despite the declining economy, this year R56.8 million in non-royalty revenue is available for distribution among our members,” says Zoghby. “This represents an impressive payout and is thanks to SAMRO making prudent decisions and heeding the advice of leading investment bankers.”

The payout of non-royalty earnings to members is the cherry on top of a good year for SAMRO, during which the organisation effectively became a one-stop service for performers and composers to collect royalties due to them from the performance of their works and recordings.

Recently, SAMRO announced that it would begin administering needletime rights, paying out royalties to music performers of works that have been broadcast or played in public. SAMRO now also collects royalties for its mechanical rights members, who are paid for the reproduction of their works on CD’s, by broadcasters, ringtones, downloads over the Internet, and so on.

These new revenue streams for artists are in addition to the existing performing rights royalties that SAMRO collects and pays out to authors, composers and publishers of music.

At SAMRO’s Annual General Meeting in November, it was announced that the SAMRO Group had posted record gross revenue in excess of R350 million for the past financial year and that the considerable amount of R250 million will be distributed among its members.

The non-royalty revenue payments that are being made this December will help to ensure that this festive season is a cheery one for South Africa’s composers and publishers.

For more information regarding SAMRO, visit