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Blondie Makhene 'blown away' as SA musicians to get needle time royalties

Independent Music Performance Rights Association (IMPRA) will be paying needle time royalties to the songwriters, performing artists and producers for the first time in South African music history.

Multi-platinum selling musician and award-winning producer Blondie Makhene. Picture: @blondiemakhene/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Legendary musician Blondie Makhene (62) says he was blown away after he heard the news that Mzansi artists are going to be paid their needle time royalties - that is money for airplay of their songs.

"Although I'm not a recipient, I'm happy that I was part of the movement that fought for their children and generation to come in the music industry," said Makhene.

Independent Music Performance Rights Association (IMPRA) will be paying needle time royalties to the songwriters, performing artists and producers for the first time in South African music history.

IMPRA, which has received 75% of R22 million budget from the SABC, has reached a historic milestone on behalf of its members.

It is a non-profit organisation and a licensor to third parties for collection and distribution of broadcast performing rights in sound recordings.

Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, IMPRA’s president Dodo Monamodi and SABC’s spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago during a TV interview recently made an announcement on the payable needle time royalties to the collecting society, IMPRA.

Monamodi says they have found that most royalties were being handed over to the producers, with the thinking that the producers were then paying the artists, which wasn’t the case.

“This is why we came together to register IMPRA to represent the performers and the producers in making sure there are equity and an equal sharing of the royalties.”

Mthethwa confirmed that the long overdue payments are now available in the coffers of IMPRA. He further committed to put pressure on IMPRA in making sure that there are no delays in paying the needle time royalties to the beneficiaries.

For the longest time, South Africa artists have died as paupers. Mthethwa reiterated that this narrative must “change for the better of the lives of our people in our new and young democracy.”

All the artists and producers from the independent record labels including Kalawa Jazmee, Soulistic Music, Afrotainment, among others, are going to benefit.

However, the payment will be for songs played by the public broadcaster across its 18 radio stations for only the period 2014/15.