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DJ Mark Stent tackles music royalty issues head-on

DJ Mark Stent. Picture: Instagram

DJ Mark Stent. Picture: Instagram

Published May 12, 2022

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Renowned South African DJ and record producer Mark Stent has found an innovative solution to address the contentious issue of royalties in South Africa.

Through his brand-new platform, the Music Audit Usage System (Maus), Stent now offers a simple way for composers, artists, labels and publishers to track airplay and the proceeds due to them.

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“There are various royalties that could make for a great financial injection, 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,” shares Stent.

Stent, who is also a chartered statistician and mathematician, says he wants to ensure that the local music industry becomes an “artist-centric, independent, clear and transparent system” that will make the process of collecting and distributing royalties simple and fair.

According to Stent, this is purely to ensure that every cent collected goes to the deserving artists.

“In simple terms, when one’s music is broadcast on radio and television or played in a live music venue, you should get paid by Samro (Southern African Music Right Organisation) 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 (South African Music Performance Rights Association) for neighbouring rights.

“When your music is transferred, for example, 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).

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“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,” Stent said.

Maus was born from a conversation between Stent and David Gresham Records and Jarrod Aston Assenheim from music data and tracking company, Radiomonitor.

The app was specifically designed to “take the hassle out of royalty monitoring and to be non-discriminatory to any rights holders,” to provide a safe environment that will benefit artists.

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“It is, to our knowledge, the only platform in the world with this specific set of features and functionality. A user would sign up for free and then search our database for their titles.

“They get one title monitored for free forever and can then pay a nominal monthly fee to add unlimited tracks for their artist. They can also add other artists, if these artists have contributed to the work they are registering, at a minimal additional charge,” he said.

According to Stent, the app also addresses another crucial issue through its free music upload panel, which is the loss of income due to incomplete info, metadata, composers, codes, publishing details, legal splits agreements.

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“New songs can be uploaded here and details verified by co-composers and fellow artists on the project, resolving any royalty issues at the source.

“Music is a huge passion for everyone involved in making it, but the administrative effort, income challenges and debates around money all too often see this passion shifted to the back burner.

“As a pioneering platform in SA music, Maus aims to tackle this issue head-on by making it easy to track your work and get paid for it through a simple to use fair and transparent platform,” he said.

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