The South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) has announced that it will take legal action against the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) over Needletime royalties.
SAMPRA is a collective management organization (“CMO”) that administers Needletime Rights on behalf of recording artists and record labels.
What are Needletime Rights? Needletime Rights are record labels and recording artists’ rights. Needletime Rights royalties are royalties paid to:
- recording artists for the public performance of their commercially released recorded performances;
- and record labels’ for the public performance of their commercially released sound recordings.
In a media statement, the organization said that it is continuing to fight for recording artists and record companies by instituting legal action against SABC.
In an on-going moral and legal battle, the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) is continuing to fight for recording artists and record companies by instituting legal action against the South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC). SAMPRA is applying to the courts to compel the SABC to pay for the use of their artist’ music. Failure by the SABC to pay will inevitably lead to an interdict prohibiting the SABC from playing tracks from SAMPRA’s repertoire – which is 99% of all tracks in South Africa.
SAMPRA revealed that the SABC is refusing to pay for Needletime rights amounting to more than R250 million over more than five years.
“It is more than 16 months since South Africa went into lockdown and the SABC is pouring salt into the wounds of recording artists. By maintaining their stance of not paying for Needletime rights, as well as negotiating in bad faith, the broadcaster is continuing in its trend of undermining SAMPRA’s members,” said SAMPRA CEO, Pfanani Lishivha.”
“As SAMPRA, we represent more than 38 000 direct performer members, and almost 6 000 direct record company members. This amounts to 99% of all tracks performed in South Arica, and a large number of these are played on SABC radio stations. SAMPRA members’ intellectual property makes up more than 95% of the SABC’s playlist. Thousands of SAMPRA members are directly losing an income from the broadcaster, and this has resulted in dire consequences, such as members’ houses being repossessed, artists being unable to pay for their children’s school fees and not being able to pay for day-to-day expenses such as food, electricity and water,” added Lishivha”
Talking about some of the affected artists, “As an organization that administers Needletime Rights on behalf of recording artists, the work we do has a direct impact on the lives of artists. Artists such as the legendary jazz, funk and disco singer Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and iconic house music producer, DJ Ganyani,” per the media statement.
— SAMPRA (@OfficialSAMPRA) July 19, 2021
Legendary musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse weighed in on the matter and implored the SABC to pay up.
“As artists, it seems like our plight is not taken as seriously as other industries,“ he said. ”The lockdown has been detrimental for us, as we are not able to generate a single cent. But ironically, the SABC continues to play our tracks in order to make the public feel hopeful about the current state of affairs and to generate advertising revenue for themselves. The SABC knows the power of music, but they are not willing to pay us for our works.”
SAMPRA represents more than 38 000 artists and around 6 000 record company members.