Composers get as excited as Meghan Markle when you say the word “royalty”, but not me…that word makes me sweat like Eminem’s palms after his mom’s spaghetti.

Show me the Money!

You see twice a year here at Mama Dance, our composers and us have an amicable divorce.  We take everything we have earned together over the last 6 months and split it 50/50. Somehow I ended up as the guy in charge of this process. While that might sound like a simple thing to cope with, we don’t just have a busker’s hat of coins that we count out, our income comes from a whole bunch of different sources and consists of 100’s of 10000’s of individual usages:

CAPASSO Blanket Licences

Our esteemed colleagues at CAPASSO (Composers, Authors & Publishers Association) work very hard to secure blanket licence deals with the major broadcasters in SA (SABC, Multichoice & eTV) who use as much music as they need for an annual fee.

Mama Dance then works equally as hard getting our music onto all those TV shows.  Music cue sheets are completed and sent to CAPASSO (and SAMRO). CAPASSO then process those cue sheets by dividing the blanket licence fee by amount of music used and they send us statements listing these usages.  We are talking millions of Rands divided into per 30sec chunks…so you do the math as to how many lines in Excel we are talking about.  Seriously, do the math, my brain is fried!

SONOTON – Worldwide co-publishing royalties

We are very fortunate to partner with the largest independent music library, Sonoton, in getting Mama Dance to the world.  Sonoton has agents in over 50 countries around the world which is why you can hear our music in everything from Samsung ads in the US to the Chinese news.  Again, all these usages come back in the form of spreadsheets with thousands of lines of income.


In the UK, all production music licensing must go through the mechanicals society MCPS.  So yes, we get statements from them too!


Those annoying copyright notices you get when you are uploading your video with you and your cat dancing to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” … those are thanks to our partners at AdRev who scan Youtube, Facebook etc for our music and monetize it through ads you can’t wait to skip…and more importantly let us know when music hasn’t been licenced correctly.


No, not the United States or the Unibrow Society.  US as in Mama Dance.  We help hundreds of production companies, ad agencies, corporate video producers, online marketing agencies and even people making cat videos, to find music that works.  And then all these licences also need to be added to the pot.

Fortunately, we now have a wonderful royalty program from a company called Backbeat that makes processing all this income a lot simpler than a few years ago where I captured it line by line.  There is still a fair bit of work to do though and it is always on top of the day-to-day music searches, costings, album production etc so I’m am always happy when the royalty statements go out and our bank account is drained (at least until the next royalty run is due)!