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New royalty platform to help artists track royalties

Many artists and composers don’t know what is due to them. A new South African platform hopes to change this landscape

Payment of royalties due to music artists and composers in South Africa has always been a contentious topic, with many not knowing what is due to them. Now a new platform, MAUS, spearheaded by DJ and producer Mark Stent, offers a simple way for composers, artists, labels and publishers to track airplay and the proceeds due.

Stent, who is also a chartered statistician and mathematician, conceptualised the Music Audit Usage System (MAUS). It aims to address the need of having an artist-centric, independent, clear and transparent system that makes it simple to gain insights on how music is received, as well as to get accurate royalty data for performance. It also covers so-called “neighbouring rights”, which are related to public performance royalties. . 

“There are various different royalties that could make for a great financial injection,” says Stent “But the fact is that deserving people in the industry – from those just starting out to highly experienced professionals – lose anything from a couple of hundred rands to thousands, simply because they don’t know, or efficiently track, exactly what is owed to them.”

He says that, when one’s music is broadcast on radio and TV, or played in a live music venue, one should get paid by SAMRO for performance rights. If you did not write the song, but sang on it or played an instrument, you are also due a royalty from SAMPRA for neighbouring rights. When your music is transferred – i.e., from a digital format to a music video – you get paid a mechanical royalty via CAPASSO. There is also a royalty due for music videos shown on TV via RISA Audio Visual (RAV).

“One naturally needs to be a member of each of these associations or organisations to benefit from these pay-outs and you should ensure that you either have a good publisher in place or diligently do your own admin.”

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