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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Loss-making SABC to increase royalty tariff paid to South African artists for needletime on its radio stations and TV channels from 3.2% to 4%.


The loss-making SABC on Thursday announced that the South African public broadcaster will increase the royalty tariff paid to artists for music content played on the SABC's 18 radio stations and TV channels from 3.2% to 4%.

The announcement of an increase in pay-outs is great news for local established and new South African musicians who will benefit from a bigger payout every time their music is played on public South African airwaves.


The news comes on the back of the SABC's recent decree by its chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng of a 90% local music content quota across all 18 of its radio stations that was widely welcomed by South African artists.

The royalty tariff will increase from 3.2% to 4% for artists registered with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAPRA), Independent Music Performance Rights Association (IMPRA) and the Association of Independent Record Companies (ARIC).

Still problematic however is that besides these four organisations, there's a lot of South African artists who are not registered with any of these bodies.

Also still troubling, is that many South African artists are still waiting on millions of rands in royalty back payments that's not been made.

South African artists also complain about problems regarding effective monitoring and reporting of needletime (which in turn negatively impacts on subsequent payouts).

The increased royalty tariff means more money for South African musicians' pocket but also more money that will have to be paid by the SABC.

The public broadcaster made a loss of R395 million in its latest reported financial year, and recently dramatically announced that it wants to start four new "language-based" TV channels, each of which will cost around R500 million to set up and operate.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the SABC is going to pay R1 billion to especially new and emerging local TV producers to create TV content for these channels but didn't specify where the astronomical amount of money is coming from.

"This move [to increase the royalty tariff] is meant to stimulate the music industry, through creating jobs and unearthing new talent. The SABC also wants to restore the dignity of creatives to move away from a situation of creatives in the music industry dying as paupers," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"We're thrilled as SAMPRA by the bold decision taken by the SABC to beat the 3% rate set by the courts and up it to 4%," says Sean Watson, SAMPRA chairperson.

"We are very excited and looking forward to artists' lives changing. We have waited for 30 years for this," says Arthur Mafokate, SAMRO representative.

"On behalf of IMPRA and AIRCO, we are embracing and remain committed and grateful of the announcement from the SABC about 4% needle time payments to us as record companies," says Dodo Monamedi, chairperson of AIRCO and IMPRA.

Besides the increased payout the SABC is also setting money aside to pay a once-off honorarium in July to local South African musicians like Babsy MlangeniSteve Kekana and Letta Mbuli.