Entertainment

SABC owes South African musicians R250 million in royalty fees….pay up

JOHANNESBURG South Africa, OgeneAfrican reports that the public broadcaster has yet to indicate its willingness to pay back the musicians.

While the SABC may be relieved by the R2.1-billion bailout, the public broadcaster has yet to deal with the fact that it owes an estimated R250-million in royalty fees, to South African musicians.

What are royalty fees?
Musicians do not earn salaries like we, ordinary humans, do. Much of their income is largely dependent on music sales (certainly not the bread and butter at the moment), merchandising, touring (the bulk of their income) and last but not least, royalty fees.

These are payments that go to recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers, and other copyright holders for the right to use their intellectual property.

In South Africa, royalties are generated for various types of licensing and usage, which include:

South African Music Rights Organisation (Samro);
South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra);
Association of Independent Record Companies (Airco);
Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa); and
Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (Capasso)
How much does SABC owe in music royalties?
In August, Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams revealed, in a Q&A session, that SABC owes more than R248-million in royalties.

“The money is owed to artists represented by various organisations, to which the SABC owes millions,” were Ndabeni-Abrahams’ exact words.

Johannesburg. South Africa’s crisis-hit public broadcaster posted a modest profit in the first six months of the 2010 financial year after a financial meltdown forced a government bail-out last year.

SABC owes South African musicians R250 million in royalty fees
The public broadcaster has yet to indicate its willingness to pay back the musicians.

While the SABC may be relieved by the R2.1-billion bailout, the public broadcaster has yet to deal with the fact that it owes an estimated R250-million in royalty fees, to South African musicians.

What are royalty fees?
Musicians do not earn salaries like we, ordinary humans, do. Much of their income is largely dependent on music sales (certainly not the bread and butter at the moment), merchandising, touring (the bulk of their income) and last but not least, royalty fees.

These are payments that go to recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers, and other copyright holders for the right to use their intellectual property.

In South Africa, royalties are generated for various types of licensing and usage, which include:

South African Music Rights Organisation (Samro);

South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra);

Association of Independent Record Companies (Airco);

Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa);

and Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (Capasso)
How much does SABC owe in music royalties?

In August, Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams revealed, in a Q&A session, that SABC owes more than R248-million in royalties.

“The money is owed to artists represented by various organisations, to which the SABC owes millions,” were Ndabeni-Abrahams’ exact words.

According to the minister, SABC currently owes:

Samro: R125.8-million;
Sampra: R104.2-million;
Airco: R8.8-million;
Risa: R3.3-million; and
Capasso: R6-million

South African musicians like David “The Kiffness” Scott have been very vocal about the public broadcaster’s refusal to address the matter.

Scott has since launched a petition, calling on South Africans to boycott SABC and realise that they can’t be “okay [with] supporting stations that don’t even support the people that make you listen to the radio in the first place.”

“I pay my TV license, though I don’t even watch SABC. But I do it anyway because it’s the law. So now I, along with the South African public, call on the SABC to return the favour by paying their outstanding R250mill royalty licenses. You can’t use “we’re broke” as an excuse, you literally have R2,1billion now. Private stations do it. Restaurants do it. So should you. To quote you, “It’s the right thing to do,” Scott charged.

OgeneAfrican was told that petition has since garnered more than 2 500 signatures, about halfway to his target of 5 000.

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