SA artists get every cent of royalties due with Maus

Payment of royalties due to deserving music artists and composers in South Africa has been a contentious topic for many years, but a brand-new platform, MAUS, spearheaded by renowned DJ and producer, Mark Stent, now offers a simple way for composers, artists, labels and publishers to track airplay and the proceeds due to them.

Payment of royalties due to deserving music artists and composers in South Africa has been a contentious topic for many years, but a brand-new platform, MAUS, spearheaded by renowned DJ and producer, Mark Stent, now offers a simple way for composers, artists, labels and publishers to track airplay and the proceeds due to them.

Mark, who is also a chartered statistician and mathematician, conceptualised the Music Audit Usage System (MAUS) to address the need of having an artist-centric, independent, clear and transparent system that makes it simple to gain insights on how music is received, as well as to get accurate royalty data for performance, as well as neighbouring rights royalties – one where rights holders can check this data against what they have received to ensure that they were paid every cent due to them.

“There are various different royalties that could make for a great financial injection, but the fact is that deserving people in the industry – from those just starting out to highly experienced professionals – lose anything from a couple of hundred rands to thousands, simply because they don’t know, or efficiently track, exactly what is owed to them.”

He says that, in simple terms, when one’s music is broadcast on radio and TV, or played in a live music venue, you should get paid by SAMRO for performance rights. If you did not write the song, but sang on it or played an instrument, you are also due a royalty from SAMPRA for neighbouring rights. When your music is transferred – i.e., from a digital format to a music video – you get paid a mechanical royalty via CAPASSO. There is also a royalty due for music videos shown on TV via RISA Audio Visual (RAV).

“One naturally needs to be a member of each of these associations or organisations to benefit from these pay-outs and you should ensure that you either have a good publisher in place or diligently do your own admin.”

He says that MAUS – born from a conversation between himself, David Gresham Records and Jarrod Aston Assenheim from music data and tracking company, Radiomonitor – was specifically designed to take the hassle out of royalty monitoring and to be non-discriminatory to any rights holders, meaning that labels, just like artists, can use the platform to their benefit.

“It is, to our knowledge, the only platform in the world with this specific set of features and functionality. A user would sign up for free and then search our database for their titles. They get one title monitored for free forever and can then pay a nominal monthly fee to add unlimited tracks for their artist. They can also add other artists, if these artists have contributed to the work they are registering, at a minimal additional charge.”

The app also addresses another crucial issue through its free music upload panel: That of loss of income due to incomplete info – metadata, composers, codes, publishing details, legal splits agreements etc. New songs can be uploaded here and details verified by co-composers and fellow artists on the project, resolving any royalty issues at the source.

“Music is a huge passion for everyone involved in making it, but the administrative effort, income challenges and debates around money all too often see this passion shifted to the back burner,” Stent concludes, “As a pioneering platform in SA music, MAUS aims to tackle this issue head-on by making it easy to track your work and get paid for it through a simple to use, fair and transparent platform.”

Details: www.maustrack.com

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