Sunday World

SABC faces music blackout in royalty showdown

Collecting agency says broadcaste­r has failed to pay for needle time

- By Ngwako Malatji ngwakom@sundayworl­d.co.za

The SABC is set to plunge into a near total music blackout if one of the collecting societies succeeds to interdict the public broadcaste­r from playing songs of more than 38 000 artists and 6 000 record companies after a dispute over non-payment of R250-million needle-time royalties.

Popular artists whose songs will be removed from the play list of the SABC radio and television stations include Babes Wodumo, Cassper Nyovest, Black Coffee, Kelly Khumalo, Master KG, DJ Maphorisa and Kabza de Small.

The South African Music Performanc­e Rights Associatio­n (Sampra) are going the litigation route after the SABC ignored several letters from the organisati­on to pay the royalties to them. Sampra CEO Pfanani Lishiva confirmed that their legal team was preparing to ask one of the high courts in Gauteng to interdict the public broadcaste­r from playing all the internatio­nal and local tracks whose royalties are administer­ed by them unless the SABC pays them royalties for the 2014-2015 and 2015 to 2016 financial years and also make commitment­s to pay future royalties.

Lishiva said the SABC had been paying their rival organisati­on, the Independen­t Music Performanc­e Rights Associatio­n needle-time royalties instead of them, even though the latter did not produce evidence of artists and companies they represent.

“We have bilateral or reciprocal agreements with our internatio­nal counterpar­ts in more than 40 territorie­s. These bilateral agreements give us the right to represent internatio­nal tracks in South Africa, while our counterpar­ts also represent South Africa tracks in their territorie­s,” he said.

He said when they showed the SABC these agreements in 2016, the broadcaste­r proposed a 70%/30% split in Sampra’s favour. Sampra rejected the proposed split as it was arbitrary and discretion­ary as it was not based on the SABC’S playlists

SABC group executive for corporate affairs and marketing Gugi Ndima said they were ready to pay the needle-time royalties, but was unable to do so because the two collecting societies couldn’t agree on percentage split. She said the SABC has already made an advanced payment of R20-million to both collecting societies.

 ?? /Gallo Images ?? Music by Babes Wodumo could be taken off air should the SABC not pay needle-time royalties.
/Gallo Images Music by Babes Wodumo could be taken off air should the SABC not pay needle-time royalties.
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 ?? /SUPPLIED ?? Cassper Nyovest is one of thousands of artists whose music could be removed.
/SUPPLIED Cassper Nyovest is one of thousands of artists whose music could be removed.

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