Music industry becomes latest victim of SABC’s financial dramas

January 14th, 2019

The SABC halted payments on music royalties for songs used on its television and radio stations last year according to the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro).

City Press reported on Sunday that Samro — in its latest annual report — revealed that the public broadcaster owed the organisation R55.5-million in royalties at the end of June 2018.

“Continuous efforts are still in progress to engage with the SABC management in order resolve the delayed and slow payment of the increasing outstanding balance; so that future distributions are not negatively affected,” Samro said in its report.

According to Samro’s website, the organisation’s “primary role is to administer performing rights on behalf of our members.”

Samro is responsible for collecting license fees from entities who use music such as television and radio broadcasters, retailers and promoters. These fees are then distributed as royalties. 

Samro pays out about R300-million in royalties to publishers and composers every year but with the SABC not being able to pay out, this amount will be affected.

The SABC had a financially challenging year in 2018 and continues to be dogged by money troubles as it operates under technical insolvency.

In March 2018, the public broadcaster revealed that it had to fork out R22-million to defend former chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng during his turbulent tenure. Motsoeneng was involved in no less than 15 different cases since the 2013/14 financial year and was eventually removed as COO in 2017.

In August, chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon told the portfolio committee on communications that the SABC is close to R700-million in debt and that it owes its creditors R694-million, with further accruals of R475-million expected.

In October, the broadcaster announced that it had served a notice of retrenchment to retrench 981 permanent employees and 1 200 freelancers, according to section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

The national broadcaster’s annual wage bill last year was R3.1-billion. Of this total expense, R12.5-million went to directors, R25-million to members of the executive committee, R500-million to freelancers and R1-billion to different layers of management, according to CEO Madoda Mxakwe.

In the retrenchment notice, the broadcaster said it had already implemented several cost-cutting measures “but that there was simply no manner in which a complete organisational wide restructuring and reductions can be avoided”.


January 10th, 2019




By Mayukh Saha

Have you ever had that experience when a really good song is playing and suddenly you break out into goosebumps? One of the most memorable times this has happened to me was when I was walking down the road to my college in my last semester, and ‘I See Fire’ by Ed Sheeran from the Hobbit came up on my shuffle.

According to Alissa Der Sarkissian, an RA at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, listening to ‘Nude’ by Radiohead makers her react in a certain way. She feels like her breathing is in tune with the music. Her heart rate slows down and her awareness of the song increases. She is able to consciously feel the emotions that are contained in the music and the way her body responds to those emotions.

Recently, an ex student from Harvard who is currently studying psychology and neuroscience at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, Matthew Sachs, a friend of Sarkissian, conducted a study on people who experienced goosebumps when they listened to music so that he could find out what caused them to feel that way. He studied 20 subjects, all students. Half of them said they felt that way when listening to music and the other half said that they didn’t. He scanned their brains, and monitored their heart rates as well as their skin conductance while each person listened to three of their favourite songs.

The results of the scans showed that the brains of the subjects who felt mentally and physically connected to the music they were listening to were structured differently from those of subjects who couldn’t feel that connection. The fibres connecting their auditory cortex with the parts of the brain that dealt with feelings were denser, indicating that communication between these areas was stronger. However, it is very difficult to find out whether this is a trait that is acquired over the years or whether some people are born with a greater density of fibres.

With the data gained from the study, Sachs was able to generate an equation – Pgoosebumps = CF (Sc + Id + Ap). CF stands for cognitive factors, Sc for social and environmental context, Id for individual differences, and Ap for the acoustic properties of the music. Pgoosebumps indicates the percentage of the chance of goosebumps occurring.

Speaking to Neuroscience magazine, Sach’s said, “The idea being that more fibres and increased efficiency between two regions means that you have more efficient processing between them.” The full study was released in Oxford Academic. It indicates that the people in whom music causes goosebumps tend to feel emotions with a greater strength and intensity than others. Another factor that needs to be taken into account here is the triggering effect of memories which are connected to music. This is one aspect that Sachs could not control in his lab. Factors like intense lyrics, the rise and fall of the pitch, intervals between harmonies, and collective crowd singing also played roles in causing goosebumps.

While the initial study was conducted on only twenty people, Sachs is now researching this in more detail by studying the different ways in which the brain works when music causes people to react for whatever reason. He has always been fascinated with the way an arrangement of notes can make people feel intensely profound emotional responses. Through his work, he wishes to find out the neurological reason behind the way people react and to use that knowledge to help treat patients suffering from mental health problems.

Source: Neurosciencenews