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TikTok will pay SA musicians royalties

(Image credit: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

TikTok has announced a multi-year licensing agreement that will cover 58 African territories. South African songwriters, composers, and music publishers will receive royalties if their music is used on the video-sharing social networking service.

According to the 2020 SA Social Media Landscape report, TikTok has more than six million users in South Africa. Since its release in 2016, the popular app has amassed more than two billion global downloads, outpacing Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Users can upload and share short-form videos – usually no longer than 15 seconds – that are accompanied by snippets of popular music.

Jerusalema, a song produced by local hitmaker Master KG, went viral on TikTok in 2020. The #Jerusalema dance challenge resulted in videos that have been viewed over a billion times and helped Master KG reach the top of the charts in Belgium and Switzerland.

Following the success of Jerusalema and TikTok's ever-expanding international reach, the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) and Composers Authors and Publishers Association (Capasso) struck a licensing agreement with the company.

Registered musicians will receive royalties through Capasso, which has over 7,000 members, under the multi-year licensing agreement.

“We are happy to have reached an agreement with TikTok in order to ensure that pan African songwriters are taken care of on the platform,” says Wiseman Ngubo, Capasso’s chief operations officer.

“With the increasing spotlight on African music, more African songwriters are poised to reach global superstar status and TikTok will play a major role in showcasing their talents to the world.”

Although Capasso and Samro are separate entities, they license digital use jointly, and artists must be members of both organizations to benefit from the latest agreement.

When you register with Samro, there are no signup or membership fees. Capasso charges artists a R100 administration fee and publishers an R250 fee.

The licensing agreement with Capasso and Capasso in Africa follows TikTok's February signing of a "expanded" global licensing agreement with Universal Music Group. In November and December, Sony Music and Warner Music Group signed similar licensing agreements with TikTok.