SAMRO: Playback Time is Payback Time

Do you compose music of any kind, write lyrics, perform vocals or play instruments in studio and help record music? Congratulations! You’re a Music Creator!

Music creators are the group of people who play a role in making the amazing, moving, thoughtful, powerful works that SAMRO vigilantly watches over. A lot of people play a role in bringing great music to the public and SAMRO protects the rights of everyone involved in the creation of musical works. This includes composers, authors, lyricists and music publishers.

As long as your musical works are active – which means they have been commercially recorded or performed in public, or broadcast on television or radio, you might qualify for SAMRO membership.


Composers: Composers make magic out of musical notes. We’re talking anything from composing music for songs to those soundtracks you hear on movies or jingles – all the way up to orchestral symphonies. If you pour your heart into writing and creating original music – you’re a composer!

As a composer, you hold a number of different rights to your music. SAMRO administers what is known as Performing Rights, which control what happens when your music is performed in public. Mechanical Rights are another form of music right that come into play when your music is reproduced mechanically.  In South Africa Mechanical Rights are administered by the Composers, Authors & Publishers Association (CAPASSO). From 2014 onward, composers need to join CAPASSO as members in order to enjoy the benefits from their Mechanical Rights.

Want to know more? We’ll break down the types of Music Creators and the different rights that apply to you.

Lyricist / Author:  Lyrics give meaning to music. If you weave words into melodies and create lyrics that accompany music – it makes you a music author and you’re entitled to be paid royalties whenever your music is used/ is active.

Like Composers, SAMRO looks after the Performing Rights rights of Authors, while an organisation called CAPASSO now handles your Mechanical Rights. That means from 2014, Authors need to register to become members of CAPASSO to receive the benefit of their Mechanical Rights.

SAMRO administers the music copyright related to Performing Rights and collects licence fees which are then distributed as royalties on your behalf. Which means if someone wants to use your words either to perform in public or to play or broadcast it – they need a usage licence.

What is a Music Publisher? Music Publishers team up with the guys who make music to get their works out to the big wide world. They might use songs in an advert, or as part of a movie. Or as part of another recording – such as when a DJ samples a chorus line from a song. They usually create a contract with the artist who produced the music – and both parties reap the benefits – and the profits.

To be a SAMRO approved Music Publisher you must have a catalogue of music works that have been commercially published or recorded. And the author/s of the music works you have made use of must be members of SAMRO or one of our international partners.

Recording Artists: Recording Artists are the talent in the recording studio that brings it all together. The music we enjoy wouldn’t be possible without the vocalists, musicians and others who help record the song. Recording Artists also enjoy protection and rights as Performers’ Organisation of South Africa (POSA) Trust Members.

POSA’s recording artists benefit from Needletime Rights, which means we make sure you score every time something you recorded is played publicly. On the radio for instance. Find out more click here

About Naufal Khan

Naufal Khan was the Publisher at ADISHAKTI MEDIA and the editor-in-chief of the South African Indian news service Indian Spice. Khan was former Sunday Times journalist and also an occult fiction and non-fiction writer with several published titles.

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