Sunday, January 13, 2019

Commercially insolvent SABC has now also stopped paying royalties to musicians; local artists owed millions of rands for music used on public broadcaster's radio and TV channels.

The SABC has now also stopped making royalty payments to South African artists and musicians, similar to local producers and production companies being owed millions of rands by the commercially insolvent South African public broadcaster.

On Sunday the City Press newspaper reported that the SABC owes the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) - the shambolic and controversial music rights organisation itself caught up in chaos and allegations of corruption - over R55.5 million by the end of June 2018.

Samro is South Africa's only music performance rights collection organisation and pays over hundreds of millions of rands to local musicians and artists annually.

Samro's annual report released in December 2018 indicates that the SABC owes Samro - and therefore South Africa's musicians and artists - millions of rands for music that have been used and that continues to be used on the SABC's radio stations and TV channels without pay.

The SABC is silent and doesn't want to say what the exact amount is that the cash-strapped South African broadcaster owes to Samro.

The SABC also owes millions of rands to South African producers and production companies for TV content it already received and broadcast and that it's not paying and can't afford to pay, in addition to non-payment to other service providers.

The SABC is also no longer able to pay its whole monthly electricity bill anymore and will from end-February 2019 no longer be able to pay all staff salaries, and from end-March 2019 no longer be able to pay any SABC staffers.

The SABC's royalties paid to Samro for music used on its radio and TV channels, and then to artists amounts to a third of Samro's income, with the SABC's that stopped paying that has put a dent of 22% less income in Samro and therefore local musicians' pocket.

While the SABC has been begging for another government bailout in the form of a government-guaranteed bank loan similar to the one in 2011 during its previous financial crisis, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's latest minister of communications, has been publicly fighting and distancing herself from the collapsing SABC board, and has done little to solve the SABC's extremely urgent cash crisis.