The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) will, for the first time, introduce a once-off application fee for musicians who wish to join the organisation, which will be used to cover the administration costs of processing new membership applications. This application fee is not applicable to current SAMRO members.
The non-refundable application fee for first-time applicants will be R100 for composers and authors and R500 for publishers and will come into effect from 01 June 2023.
Over the past few years, SAMRO experienced a significant increase in the number of new member applications. In 2018 alone, SAMRO received 10,000 new applications. Over the years that followed, the organisation experienced even more growth, with an average of 20,000 registrations per year. “We have seen a spike in applications, which places additional pressure on the organisation and existing members who have to carry the costs of this influx of new members.
The organisation’s resources, both time and money, directed at processing and registering new members, represents a considerable opportunity cost to existing SAMRO members,” says SAMRO CEO Annebell Lebethe.
“The once-off fee is nominal, and it will alleviate the burden from current SAMRO members. We are not attempting to dissuade musicians from becoming members but rather fulfilling our duty to guarantee that our existing members receive the most benefit and efficient service from SAMRO,” says Lebethe.
SAMRO is an organisation that administers the Performing Rights on behalf of its Members, who are music composers, authors, and publishers and currently represents 170,217 Members. Of these, only 24,183 (14%) are earning Members, who are Associate and Full Members, meaning that 14% of our Members are inadvertently covering the administration costs of processing new member applications.
Lebethe says that while it is not unusual for membership-based organisations to charge some type of registration or application fee, the move is also a measure in response to members’ requests for SAMRO to reduce its operating costs and thus maximise value for them.
The organisation is committed to enhancing members’ service levels, creating additional value, and upholding fairness, integrity, and inclusivity principles in all its operations.