Vaccine passports for live events could kickstart music industry – SAMRO
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DURBAN - THE Southern African Music Rights Organisation believes that the introduction of vaccine passports for live events is the ideal situation to kickstart the music industry.
The music industry has been one of the hardest hit with the implementation of the various lockdowns.
Last Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country's move to an adjusted level 2 lockdown.
This has seen a change to curfew times as well as the allowance of bigger crowds at indoor and outdoor events.
SAMRO CEO, Mark Rosin, welcomed the move, added that more measures need to be taken to allow for artists and performers to earn a decent living.
"“Artists and musicians have taken a severe battering during the COVID-19 lockdown introduced in March 2020 and which effectively placed a ban on all public performances. This has seriously impeded the ability of artists and performers to earn a living and left most of our members struggling financially," Rosin said.
He said while SAMRO has been working tirelessly to collect royalties and broaden revenue streams for its members, the main source of income for artists remains the ability to perform at live events.
"Considering the devastating effect that the Covid-19 lockdown has had on musicians’ ability to earn a living, we urge a return to live performances as soon as possible, in a controlled environment," he said.
"Introducing vaccine passports as a prerequisite for attending live events would be the ideal solution to ensuring public safety and curbing the spread of the virus, while also affording artists the much-needed opportunity to earn a living," he added.
Rosin said while SAMRO understands the need for people to act responsibly and adhere to measures to help curb the spread of the pandemic, it is of crucial importance that government does whatever it can to protect the country’s artists and the music industry as a whole during desperate times.
"A vaccine passport is a certification of either vaccination status or immunity following a natural infection that confirms a person no longer poses a risk to others.
"The idea of introducing vaccine passports for Covid-19 has been mooted by various countries across the world, including European Union member states, predominantly as a means of allowing restrictions-free international travel, as well as opening up live sporting and entertainment events to live attendance," Rosin said.
Rosin says SAMRO welcomes the announcement of a possible vaccine passport and urges government to move ahead swiftly with the initiative as it would be a crucial lifeline for those depending on live events as a means of survival.
"We welcome this announcement by the president and call on government to move with speed to introduce a vaccine passport for South African citizens. While we recognise the need to act responsibly and play an active role in helping to curb the spread of the virus, these measures must be balanced against the basic right of artists to earn an income," Rosin said.
SAMRO’s primary role is to administer performing rights on behalf of its members, who are mainly music creators such as song writers, composers and publishers.
The organisation licenses music users (such as television and radio broadcasters, live music venues, retailers, restaurants, promoters and shopping centres) and collects licence fees which are then distributed as royalties.