While some musicians are still able to earn a decent living from music, the same cannot be said for most of their contemporaries, who often struggle to make ends meet after they are past their prime, or to leave something for their families after they pass on.
Formed in 1962, the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) is Africa’s leading music copyright administration company and deals with the administration of music composers’ Performing Rights. On Friday 27 November, SAMRO announced that the funeral benefit paid to its composers had been increased by 100%.
In addition to the royalty income that SAMRO pays to its composers from the use of their music by licensed users, SAMRO provides its composers with a Retirement Annuity Fund and has done so since 1969. In 1998, the SAMRO Funeral Benefit Scheme was added to its Benefits Programme to assist composers with the burdensome costs associated with funeral arrangements. To date, a total of R45 million has been spent paid to composers in respect of these benefits.
Sipho Dlamini, SAMRO’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “SAMRO is pleased to announce that as of 1 November 2015, the funeral cover for members has been increased from R10 000 to R20 000. In the unfortunate death of a composer member or his/her beneficiaries, the bereaved can contact SAMRO to submit their claim. The benefit covers the composer member, their spouse and up to five children under the age of 18.”
The announcement in relation to the R10 000 increase – coming shortly after the SAMRO Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 27 November 2015 in Braamfontein, Johannesburg - has been well received by composers. Sphamandla Masondo, the son of the late David Masondo, frontman of the Soul Brothers and a SAMRO composer member who passed away in July 2015, said: “Planning a funeral is an emotional thing. When our father died, SAMRO assisted us, through its funeral benefit scheme, to bury our father. It was such a relief to everyone in the family when SAMRO called us and informed us of this benefit.”