(Badirile Secondary School Learners at the Soweto Theater Complex: 2019 November 01 11:48)
Johannesburg – Thousands of authors and composers whose music is broadcast on SABC TV and radio can now be assured of receiving their royalty fees as the SABC begins to clear a backlog of debt. The SABC had fallen behind in its payments amid its own financial challenges.
It is alleged that by September 30 2019, the SABC owed SAMRO a total of more than over R160 million which was due to be paid to local artists. With the financial position of the SABC moving on the positive direction, there is hope that musicians will finally receive funds owed to them after a payment plan has been established.
Though this seems to be a victory for local artist, we are however surprised that the Creative Industry of South Africa (CISA) is mum about the challenges faced by the local producers. One would be tempted to suggest that the function of CISA is to represent the artists from all walks of life despite their area of specialization.
It’s a step in the right direction, but some artists are adamant that they will only believe to the authenticity of the initiative once they see the money coming into their accounts from SAMRO.
The question we want to ask is, “Why did the SABC decided to ignore paying the royalties to SAMRO” as this might be the only way for some artists to make a living? Why did CISA and its counterpart, SAMRO continued to be silent on the issues affecting their members?
SAMRO’s interim CEO Ditebogo Modiba expressed her thanks to the SABC for prioritising these payments in recognition of the impact that it has on the industry’s sustainability since it is a crucial source of income for many South African artists.
In a statement released to the press, she said: “Honouring their commitment to us reflects their understanding of the importance of paying for their license, which ultimately benefits our members. This is still a challenge when dealing with some other licensees, and the SABC, despite its financial challenges, has proven to be a positive example in complying with this,”.
She added: “All of the money received from the SABC will be used to secure the payment of royalties to our members, which is our primary and core function.”
(Photo: Tyler Walker/Big Red Photography)