Needletime in short

by Siphesihle Msomi

posa-logo-header Lately needletime has been rather infamous because of its processes and the wait for it to be implemented.  In this article, the focus will be to explain what needletime is for those musicians who may lack understanding.

The term copyright might be less cool and may sound a bit bureaucratic when compared to what comes out of the headphones, but this law still applies.  It is in this law that we have terms like performance right, mechanical right and reproduction rights that are placed to protect owners of copyright or musicians.  The rights mentioned above are rights that were administered by collections houses like SAMRO and publishers like SONY for songwriters, composers and authors.  Ideally this administration was made for person’s who create the music and not necessarily recording it.  As you may think, this process does cut out a lot of people who are involved in the making of the different elements of the music.

This has led to the creation of a specialised right called needle time.  This right works as royalty that is paid to all persons who performed in the recording of such music.  The Performers Organisation of South Africa (POSA) is a division of South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO).  Needletime remunerates recording artists for the public performance of their recorded music.  POSA categorises the performers in the recording as follows:

  • Featured artist
    • Is an individual artist recording artist in whose name the CD was recorded or a member of a band and who made a performing contribution to the recorded performance. E.g. lead vocalist of the album.
  • Non-Featured Artist
    • Is a session musician who makes a contribution to the recorded performance e.g. a booked pianist
  • Other featured Artist
    • Is a guest on a track(s) in an album recorded in another artist’s name e.g. featured artist like in the remix.

Needletime seems complicated to some, but it is also an added advantage for some artists who have been performing in many famous recordings that they have not been credited for.  With that said, I say, let the music kings claim their royalty!

More information and want to register for Needletime?



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