The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) is a leading regional copyright administration business, dealing primarily with the administration of music composers’ and authors’ Performing Rights.

SAMRO was established in 1961 under the stewardship of Dr Gideon Roos Senior, to protect the intellectual property of composers and authors and to ensure that their creative output is adequately accredited and compensated both locally and internationally.

Today, SAMRO has grown into an internationally recognised collecting administration business representing more than 12 000 music creators. It has built up a solid reputation as the primary representative of music Performing Rights in Southern Africa, and is well respected among its global peers as a leading music rights society.

Performing Rights royalties are earned by music composers, lyricists and publishers when their musical works are performed in public – for example, on radio or TV, in a business environment or at a concert.

Mechanical Rights ‘Mechanical Rights’ is a fancy name for the royalties that composers, lyrists and music publishers earn when their music is copied and transformed into things like cassettes, CDs, DVDs, MP3s – even ringtones – for public use. In other words when it is reproduced by a device or machine.


In the past, Mechanical Rights were managed by both SAMRO and NORM (National Organisation for Reproduction Rights in Music), but recently the game changed. In order to make life simpler for music creators and better serve members, SAMRO and NORM decided to work together to establish a new organisation to manage Mechanical Rights through one administrative body. Thus, CAPASSO was born – the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association.


This new body, CAPASSO is responsible for licensing your music and collecting fees from Music Users like radio stations and advertising agencies, DJ’s and anyone who makes copies, cover versions or compilation CDs. Or when it’s made available for legal download on the internet. CAPASSO makes sure playback time is payback time for Music Creators. If you’re a music creator, please be sure to sign up as a CAPASSO member to make sure you receive the benefit of Mechanical Rights on your music.

Needletime Rights royalties are earned by recording artists (such as musicians, singers or backing vocalists, and studio producers, who do not necessarily have to be the authors of the work) when one of their recorded performances is played or performed in public, for example, on a radio station.

SAMRO’s primary role is to administer copyright in music creators’ and publishers’ intellectual property (i.e. their Performing Rights). It does so by licensing music users (such as television and radio broadcasters, live music venues, and establishments that play music, such as retailers, restaurants and shopping centres), collecting licence fees and distributing royalties to music creators.

Rights administration and licensing

SAMRO administers the copyright and royalties of its members – being primarily music composers, authors and publishers.

Members who are composers and songwriters assign the rights of their musical works to SAMRO to administer. SAMRO, in turn, uses the assignments to license individuals and businesses that use music for business or commercial purposes. This includes shopping centres, nightclubs, television and radio broadcasters, and so on.

SAMRO collects these licence fees from music users, which are paid out to members in the form of royalties during annual distribution cycles (after administration costs are deducted).

By following simple procedures and paying the appropriate fees, individuals and businesses can use musical works administered by SAMRO. This will ensure that creators are rewarded for the public use of their intellectual property.

SAMRO’s purpose

To create value for the creators and users of music;

To protect the intellectual property rights of writers, composers and music publishers by licensing music users;

To ensure that members whose works are broadcast and played commercially are paid their royalties from licence fees collected by SAMRO; and

To actively promote the value of copyright.