Artistes petition SABC over royalties

Several South African artistes, including Parlotones, frontman Kahn Morbee and DJ Mark Stent, have called on the SABC to pay R250 million in royalties allegedly owed to musicians in the country.

The online petition was started by The Kiffness musician David Scott after the SABC received a R2,1 billion bailout from government.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced last Friday that the state would transfer R2,1 billion of the R3,2 bn it promised the broadcaster and said the billion balance will be transferred when the broadcaster meets all the funding preconditions set by the Treasury.

Scott claimed that the SABC has not been paying artistes “needletime” royalties and calculated the amount owed to be around R250 million.

He previously announced that he was boycotting the broadcaster and refused to let the public broadcaster play any of his music until it starts paying artists. He then started the petition to raise awareness of the issue.

Scott said he aimed to “remind” the SABC that they still owe the following amounts to the various royalty collecting agencies, Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro): R125,8m, South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra): R104,2m, Association of Independent Record Companies (Airco): R8,8m, Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa): R3,3m; and Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (Capasso): R6m.

“I pay my TV licence, though I don’t even watch SABC. But I do it anyway because it’s the law. So now I, along with the South African public, call on the SABC to return the favour by paying their outstanding R250m royalty licences,” he said.

“You can’t use ‘we’re broke’ as an excuse; you literally have R2,1 billion now.

“Private stations do it. Restaurants do it. So should you. To quote you: ‘It’s the right thing to do’.”

Over 4 200 have already signed the petition, including numerous prominent SA artistes.

Morbee added his signature to the petition but did not comment.

“I’m an artiste and I deserve to be paid rightly for my music,” Stent wrote on the petition.

Singer Tasha Baxter added: “It’s the right thing to do.”— Sowetan

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