The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has rung in changes with a formidable ensemble of recognised industry players and music professionals at the helm its new board of directors.
The board draws its strength from the various facets of the industry from musicians and composers, to academics and business practitioners who are mandated to take SAMRO into the future as they chart new waters. Together they have decades of experience and undeniable passion for the music industry that has seen them effect change in the different spaces they have operated in.
It is chaired (in acting capacity) by musician, music director and founder of publishing house, Lebotja Media Ms Relebogile Mabotja, who was voted in as Deputy Chairperson. Ms Mabotja, who has been serving on the board since 2016 will chair the board until a permanent independent chair is appointed. Also continuing his service on the board since 2016 is Mr Rowlin Naicker, MD of both SonyATV and EMI Music Publishing.
New to the board are Mr David Alexander, founder and MD of Sheer Music Publishing, Mr Gabi Le Roux, music composer and producer, Dr Sipho Sithole, music composer and businessman, Mr Sello Chicco Twala music composer and producer and Mr Ryan Hill, MD at Universal Music Publishing Africa.
Also new to the board are Ms Natalie Sanderson, CFO at The David Gresham Record Company, Ms Wendy Oldfield, revered musician, singer and composer and Ms Linah Ngcobo, celebrated musician, song writer and industry veteran.
Ms Nothando Migogo, Intellectual Property practitioner and President of the CISAC Africa committee continues to serve as the CEO, as does Ms Ditebogo Modiba CA (SA) as CFO of SAMRO.
The board is in the process of identifying two independent directors to join the board as Chairperson of the board and Chairperson of the audit and risk committee respectively.
The new leadership aims to build on the three pillars on which SAMRO’s business strategy rests. The commitment is to finalise inherited legacy issues and to use these as lessons towards the implementation of the 2020 Strategy.
The first pillar focuses on the optimisation of SAMRO’s business and entails identifying areas in which efficiencies can be improved on so as to have a positive impact on the distributions SAMRO makes to its members.
Second is business diversification which focuses on identifying and pursuing opportunities to provide SAMRO’s existing stakeholders (members and licensees) an improved and wider service offering out of the current resources SAMRO has at its disposal.
The third pillar is about future-focus and innovation that will enable SAMRO to compete effectively in the market and industry of the future.
As promised, SAMRO will embark on a road show to engage its members on the important issue of public domain (DP) works in music. These road shows will take place in all nine (9) provinces between February and March 2019 and the aim is to find a common understanding on this issue so as to finalise the SAMRO distribution rules in this regard.
Acting chairperson Relebogile Mabotja commented: ‘The new board of directors at SAMRO symbolises change and a new start. We are united in spirit towards making this key organisation a force to be reckoned with, not only at home in South Africa but across the continent of Africa and the globe. This change opens great potential and opportunities for our local music industry, which is taking the world by storm. We position SAMRO as a dependable collector of royalties with the best interests of the industry at its core. We are also proud that the board reflects a fair representation of women in leadership.’