The SABC must pay their R250 million royalty debt to musicians

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The SABC have received a R2,1billion bail out from the South African government today. I would like to remind the SABC that they still owe these amounts to the following royalty collecting agencies, which they must pay with immediate effect:

SAMRO: R125.8 mill

SAMPRA: R104.2 mill

AIRCO: R8.8 mill

RiSA: R3.3 mill

CAPASSO: R6 mill

I pay my TV license, 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 R250mill royalty licenses. You can’t use “we’re broke” as an excuse, you literally have R2,1billion now. Private stations do it. Restaurants do it. So should you. To quote you, “It’s the right thing to do”.

R250mill is a mere 10% of your bail out budget, a tithe if you will. But to us musicians, it is our bread & butter.

To the public: please ask yourself if you’re ok supporting stations that don’t even support the people that make you listen to the radio in the first place. If not, consider switching to private stations until SABC changes their ways.

To the companies that advertise on SABC stations: please ask yourself if you’re comfortable that the advertising fees you’re paying these stations are lining the pockets of the fat cats, when that money should be going towards paying license fees for musicians. If not, then stop advertising on SABC stations until they change their ways.

And to my fellow musicians: ask yourself if you’re ok with playing gigs for that dodgy promoter who says “there’s no budget but it’s great exposure”. If not, then stop sending your music to SABC stations until they’ve paid their dues! Trust me, I know how cool it is to have your track on the 5fm top 40, but I’ve realised that having royalties to put a downpayment on a house & having an actual retirement annuity fund from SAMRO is way cooler.

Let's keep the SABC accountable so that musicians in South Africa can actually get what's owed to them. Let's take this to the Constitution Court if needs be. For too long, the well being of musicians in South Africa has been overlooked & politicians have treated us an afterthought. Without us, there is no radio. It's a crying shame that the fat cats have the audacity to with-hold what rightfully belongs to us. That ends now. Sign the petition. 

feature picture courtesy of Tyler Walker Photography.