The quest to make more money
from the same music is something all musicians, producers and rappers alike,
should strive for. We all have heard of the concept of royalties before but
what exactly does this mean?
In this post, I explore the three types of rights (royalties) that are available in the South African context. I’ll also tell you which organizations you should look into to get these rights.
1. Performance Rights
Performance rights which give
performance royalties, are the rights to perform music in public. Anyone who
uses your music in public, by law, has to pay the creators of the music they
The people that were part of
the original version of the song are usually the ones that are entitled to
performance royalties. This would be the composer (usually the producer),
lyricist (usually the rapper) and the music publisher (got a portion from the
Performance Royalties are
earned whenever the music is performed in public, as in live/ on stage, and
broadcast on TV or Radio. Other public places are like the in-store radios,
public reception areas etc.
This is considered the mother
of all rights to get yourself covered for. Signing up with a PRO, Performance
Rights Organisation, is how to receive these royalties.
In South Africa, SAMRO is the organisation that I’d suggest you’d register with. It’s free, simple and easy. Head over to their website for more information.
2. Mechanical Rights
Mechanical Rights which give
mechanical royalties, are rights entities need to reproduce and change format
of a song for public use.
Whenever your music is being
streamed, changed to ringtones, aired on radio, downloaded after purchase etc.
you are entitled to mechanical royalties. Mechanical royalties also arise when
your music is attached to something that shows on tv.
In South Africa, mechanical
royalties are collected by CAPASSO. CAPASSO has agreements worldwide that help
them collect on your behalf. They have a yearly fee of R100 at the time of this
post. Head over to their website for more information.
3. Needletime Rights
Needletime Rights which
generate needletime royalties, are the rights performers and recording artists
get when their music is played in public.
This is different to the
Performance Rights in point 1. Needletime Rights pertain to the recorded
version of the musical work. An example is if you perform a cover of a song by
Bryson Tiller. Bryson and his team are still the composers and lyricists of the
song but the recorded version (cover) is yours. Therefore, you’re entitled to
If you’re in South Africa, you
need to be a South African Music Performance Rights Association, SAMPRA, member
to start receiving Needletime royalties.
Three rights mean three royalties. I made the mistake of
thinking SAMRO had me conveniently covered but I missed out on two other pay
checks. Do the right thing and get affiliated ASAP with these organisations
before you drop your next single. It’s free and only costs time and a little
effort. If you’d like to discuss anything mentioned above, hit me up on
whatsapp 0835709602 or send me a DM on Instagram or FB: @SkillMusicSA
Until next time,
Skill is a producer, pianist and performing artists based in Port Elizabeth. He’s input can be heard on music by PdotO, Blaklez, Toya Delazy, Zakwe and Yanga to name a few. This post amended from his website SkillMusicSA.com.