SABC Once Again Undermines SAMPRA and the Livelihoods of South African Artists

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 7 June 2018 | Yesterday it was announced that for the first time ever, the SABC will pay Needletime royalties to artists through the Independent Music Performing Rights Association (IMPRA). IMPRA will be receiving 75 percent of the R22 million earmarked for distribution to artists and producers.

While the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA), the collective management organisation that administers Needletime rights on behalf of recording artists and record labels, would like to commend the SABC for finally taking the steps to pay the royalties that are the bread and butter of performing artists, it questions why the SABC has decided to split the share of royalties 25-75 in favour of IMPRA – especially when the matter still lies with the courts.
“We have, on more than one occasion, presented documentation to prove to the SABC that we own more than 90 percent of the repertoire. The SABC has purposefully ignored this information and decided that they will pay 75 percent of the royalties to IMPRA instead of at least 90 percent of the royalties to SAMPRA,” says SAMPRA CEO, Pfanani Lishivha.

Lishivha continues, “Our repertoire contains more than 90 percent of all the tracks played by radio stations, including SABC radio stations, across the country. We are, of course, taking this matter to the courts.”

SAMPRA can’t help but question the SABC’s decision and action to pay over money to IMPRA when there hasn’t been a ruling yet.

“The SABC has created the impression that SAMPRA doesn’t want to be paid by the SABC or has delayed payment. This is incorrect. We argue that payments should be made in accordance with the playlist. All the playlists indicate that we own at least 93 percent of the songs that the SABC and other commercial radio stations have been playing. Why then has IMPRA, who owns less than 10 percent of all songs broadcast in this country, been given the bulk of the payments due to our artists?” Lishivha asks.

This has forced SAMPRA to take legal action against the SABC. “We need to do all we can to ensure that the royalties that are fairly owed to performers and producers are paid to the correct artists and record companies,” concludes Lishivha.

This follows on from news last year that the SABC owes artists millions of rands in outstanding royalties for air play across more than 18 of its radio stations.