Cape Town - The South African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) has painted a shocking picture of poor pay in the industry, with nearly R500 million leaving the country in the past five years because local music is not being played on radio stations.
The organisation, backed by MPs, on Tuesday called on the government to tighten the regulations to force radio stations to play more local music to avoid tens of millions of rand in royalties being paid to overseas artists.
The two parties are pinning their hopes on the review of the local-content policy, which is currently under way, by the Department of Trade and Industry.
They believe this review would help save hundreds of millions of rand more leaving the country in the future.
The portfolio committee on arts and culture in Parliament said it was unfair that local radio stations were not sticking to the current quota of 80 percent local music.
Samro said failure by radio stations to play local music was costing the industry almost R100m a year.
Samro chief executive Sipho Dlamini was briefing the portfolio committee on the state of the music industry when he told MPs that out of the funds generated by the industry in the past five years, R469m in royalties went to overseas artists.
“One of the biggest difficulties, one of the biggest pains we have, is to pay large amounts to overseas composers,” Dlamini said.
If radio stations stuck to the quota, there would be more royalties flowing internally, he told parliamentarians.
He noted that in France, the creative and arts industry contributes seven times more than the manufacturing sector to the gross domestic product.
This was because the French government had strict regulations on local content.
In Europe, the creative and arts industry contributed more jobs than telecommunications because they promoted local content.
Dlamini called for more local music to be played on radio stations for the benefit of local artists. In giving a breakdown of the royalties paid between 2009 and 2014, Dlamini said the numbers did not look good for local artists.
While R134m was paid to local artists in 2009, a total of R78m in royalties went to overseas performers.
In 2010, the industry paid R133m to local acts, and R83m went out of the country.
Dlamini said that in 2011, R136m went to local artists and R86m went offshore.
In 2012, an amount of R133m in royalties was paid locally while R72m left the country.
Samro’s boss said that in 2013, local artists received R121m in royalties and overseas musicians got R72m.
Last year, a total of R138m in royalties was paid in the country and R76m was paid outside. Dlamini said this should not be allowed to continue to happen.
Chairwoman of the portfolio committee Xoliswa Tom
agreed the situation was unacceptable and called for a probe.