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Woolworths under fire as it stops playing SA music in stores

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South Africa-based multinational retail company Woolworths is under fire for saying it will no longer make use of copyright protected music in its stores

The move taken by Woolworths means the retail company will no longer play South African music in its stores accross the country.

The South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) castigated Woolworths’ move and called on local artists to unite against the retailer.

“South African artists will no longer receive music royalties from the retailer,” SAMPRA said. “It also means that South African music will no longer be promoted in any Woolworths store. We are displeased with the retailer’s decision to implement this business strategy as we believe that the implementation of this strategy disadvantages and weakens the survival of the South African artist in favour of enriching a European based music service provider that is only concerned with exorbitant profits.

“It also calls into question Woolworths commitment to South Africa and whether Woolworths is proudly South African. How does Woolworths justify shipping money to a European-based music service provider whose sole intention is depriving artists of royalties globally? Is this being a responsible corporate citizen?”

The Collective Management Organisation (CMO) criticised Woolworths for not putting local artists at heart. “Does Woolworths not have, if not a corporate consciousness, then a moral obligation to the country’s artists who have time and time again been the social mouthpiece of the brand?

“Many South African artists can attest that the music royalties they receive have assisted them significantly in putting their children through school, putting a roof over their families, feeding their families, creating employment opportunities for fellow musicians and meeting their day to day financial obligations.”

The CMO has urged South Africans to unite with artists and join in the #PlayOurMusicWoolies movement “to send a strong message to Woolworths stores nationwide that South African products matter, including artist matters. Join the movement and let’s fight the economic injustice that Woolworths wants to impose on the South African artist.”

Local rapper Moozlie wrote on Twitter: “Also says a lot about what they think about artists in this country, the music we make and the audiences that consume it. And if they get away with this it’s only a matter of time until all the other corporates jump on.”

Another rapper Toya Delazy also wrote: “ Seriously, since I went independent I have been surviving & pushing internationally with added monetary support from SAMPRA. I could rely on that cheque when all my other avenues were cut after I went independent. The implications of companies cutting corners on artists is dire.”

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