Woolworths has decided that they will only play royalty-free music and the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) is mobilizing artists to unite against the giant store’s decision.ontroversial South African retail store
“In the past, Woolworths used to pay artists’ royalty fees for the use of their music. They are now not willing to pay those fees and have now opted to used royalty-free music which means that there is no longer any benefit or value that the SA artist will derive from Woolworths operating a business in South Africa,” Yvette Rammalo – SAMPRA.
According to SAMPRA, the decision (if implemented) by the retail store will definitely affect the artists’ ability to earn royalty income, alluding to the fact that royalty income is the most consistent form of income for an artist.
“If implemented, the multinational retail company, Woolworths’ decision will affect South African artists’ royalty income negatively. Essentially, this means that if an artist used to get R20 000 in royalties from Woolworths, they will now get nothing. It basically means that an artist that used to be able to use their royalty income to feed their families, take their children to school, put a head over their heads and basically meet their financial obligations. Woolies is basically pulling the rug from under an artist’s feet,” said SAMPRA spokesperson Yvette Rammalo
South African rapper Tshegofatso Seroalo known professionally as Ginger Trill encouraged local artists to stand together against the decision by Woolworths.
“Dear Local Artists… we need you to stand with us and support this course as this affects you directly, this has implications on our industry as a whole, especially independent artists, get woke and get involved! This is a call to act,” wrote Ginger Trill.
Toya Delazy said that the decision by Woolworths will hit independent artists the hardest and force artists to seek to be signed which in SA is slavery all over again, herself having been there.
“I hope they rethink -they don’t need to be cutting costs with all the money they make from us.
“Seriously, since I went independent I have been surviving & pushing internationally with added monetary support from SAMPRAH. I could rely on that check when all my other avenues were cut after I went independent. The implications of companies cutting corners on artists are dire,” wrote Toya Delazy.
“Royalty-free music will affect many South African artists and generations to come. Let’s unite and ensure that Woolworths #PlayOurMusicWoolies,” wrote SAMPRA on their official Twitter account.
SAMPRA issues licences to South African radio broadcasters who use sound recordings in Sampra’s repertoire in their transmissions.
These include shops, restaurants, pubs, clubs and other music users who render sound recordings to the public, require a SAMPRA lincece to authorize these organizations to play millions of sound recordings on their business premises.
Royalty-free music does exist, so the move by Woolworths is not an illegal one.