“South African Music Law, Contracts and Business” – 2013 (third) edition of ground-breaking book to be released at Music Exchange

Nick Matzukis
Nick Matzukis

South African Music Law, Contracts and Business” – 2013 (third) edition of ground-breaking book to be released at Music Exchange!

Third Edition of Highly In-demand Music Industry Book Now Ready for Release

South Africa’s only reference book on music contracts and law for musicians was originally written by Nick Matzukis and published in 2009. This was followed by the hugely-successful second edition, “South African Music Law and Contracts” published in 2010. The second edition was ground-breaking in its content and proved so popular that it had to go into two re-prints, and was the subject of some concern when it sold out and copies became unavailable during 2012.

Matzukis says: “To be honest, I was taken a little by surprise at the overwhelming demand for the second edition of the book – I even had a few musicians threatening to report me for attempting to withhold information when I could not provide copies to them! In the meantime, of course, huge changes had taken place in the music industry, especially with regard to the demise of SARRAL, changes in legislation, the Copyright Review Commission and the development of the needletime royalties impasse. I realized that a third edition had to be written, so I finally knuckled down and got it done by the end of January 2013. The third edition carries a new title, namely “South African Music Law, Contracts and Business”, because these three components have become inextricably linked, and this edition carries a greater amount of practical business references. It is very current and even more detailed than its predecessors. I must say that I am extremely proud of my new baby…”

The third edition of the book comes in at 630 pages, whereas the second edition, popular as it was, comprised some 450 pages (in A5 textbook format.) Clearly, therefore, the new edition is extremely detailed and comprehensive. It also, quite remarkably, contains some three dozen more case studies than the second edition, as well as an entire new chapter dedicated to the current state of the South African Music Industry. Very recent developments, such as the arrival of iTunes and Simfy, the formation of a new mechanical rights society, developments in needletime royalties and the report of the 2012 Copyright Review Commission, are covered in detail, and the book is peppered with literally hundreds of case studies, examples, reported cases and real-life music industry scenarios, both local and international. It is the only recognized work on South African Music Law and Contracts, but it is also, without a doubt, the most detailed and highly-practical book ever written about the music industry in this country.

The full title of the third edition of the book is “South African Music Law, Contracts and Business – the smart musician’s guide to how the South African Music industry works, how to negotiate the best possible contracts, and how to make money from music in South Africa and overseas”. When one looks at the topics covered, the title is apt:-

The book gives a thorough and very current analysis of the music industry, both in South Africa and abroad, and describes and analyses all the major players and institutions in the industry. It then goes on to explain in detail the often perplexing topic of the various royalty streams and music copyrights that exist, thereby enabling the reader to come to a complete understanding of how money is made in the industry, by whom, and from which copyright or other source. Much of this explanation is bolstered and reinforced with diagrammes, schematics and charts, in order to simplify certain difficult topics, especially the separation of royalties and income-streams. According to Matzukis, “there is hardly anyone in South Africa, even the most experienced publisher or record company executive, who completely understands the whole picture regarding the various royalty streams. One of my main goals in writing the third edition was to ensure that the reader of this book does acquire that understanding.”

The book then goes on to analyse the legal principles that a South African musician should know, especially those pertaining to contracts, copyright and royalties. After explaining the general principles of contract using examples from the music industry, the book then gives a highly practical clause-by-clause explanation of the contents of major music contracts, all from the artist’s perspective. Included in these are recording contracts, licensing deals, production contracts, publishing agreements, artist management contracts and variants of all these. The reader is thoroughly prepared to know what to look out for as an artist, and what to negotiate, term by term. In particular, the reader is quickly taught what to look out for before concluding any agreement, clause by clause. A series of sample contracts is also provided in the book, in order to enable the reader to test his/her own knowledge and negotiating skills on a practical level.

As one would expect, the Law of Copyright as it pertains to the music industry, is thoroughly dealt with. This chapter is long, detailed and highly practical in content, utilizing many cases studies.

In all chapters, the book bulges with music industry examples, real case studies and practical examples, illustrating each point. It is also written in an easy style that makes the legal principles (even very complex ones) as accessible and understandable as possible for musicians and laymen. “Many attorneys have acquired or requested copies of the book, and the information they need is most certainly there”, states Matzukis, “but I wanted it to be a book for musicians, so it is written in the most colloquial style possible. My mission in writing the book was, and is, to see the end of the days in which advantage is taken of naïve South African musicians, due to their lack of knowledge. Thus, the book has been written in a style designed to be as easy and understandable as each topic allows, and seeks, wherever possible, to make very complex legal principles comprehensible to musicians and other laymen.”

The book, published by ASE Publishing, will be available from March 2013, and is being officially launched at Music Exchange in March 2013. “What better place than my favourite music conference, Music Exchange, to launch the book?” says the author, “I hope you enjoy reading the book and, more importantly, that it gives you the knowledge to attract the income from the music industry that your musical creativity deserves…

About the Author
Nick Matzukis is an Advocate of the High Court and a music industry expert. Although he knows the institutional, legal and business aspects of the music industry intimately, it is important to note that he also brings with him a musician’s perspective. This is because he has also been a very well-known figure in the South African music scene, having played for many high-profile bands, and having been involved in various music projects over the years. He is a founding director of Academy of Sound Engineering, South Africa’s top music production college, and also of AVL Productions, a premier entertainment production company and supplier of music industry technologies.

Having started his education career as a lecturer/senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Law School, Nick won various awards including the Convocation Distinguished Teacher’s Award, following on from his numerous Top Student awards. Nick proceeded to open a respected college group in 1995, which included a Contemporary Music School and a Sound Engineering School, the first of their kind in South Africa, and was then made CEO of the country’s largest private education group in 2001.

Nick now consults to the music industry at large (including entertainment attorneys), presents Music Business and Music Law lectures at the Academy of Sound Engineering and gives high-profile music business seminars to professionals. He has been requested to assist in the re-drafting of the Collecting Society Regulations for Performers’ Needletime Royalties and possible amendments to the Performers’ Protection and Copyright Acts, and has provided pivotal advice regarding the restructuring of South Africa’s music royalty collection system. Importantly, Nick was also commissioned to provide expert legal advice on the settlement of the current Needletime Royalties impasse and pending litigation. His list of clients and referrers includes attorneys, major royalty collection societies, publishers, labels, recording artists, industry associations, aggregators, music retailers and the Department of Trade and Industry itself (in the form of CIPC’s Copyright Department.)

Nick graduated cum laude from Wits Law School in 1984, was awarded the top lecturer prize in 1987, and is the only person ever to have been awarded the APPEDT Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to Education. Nick has on several occasions been invited to give seminars at SAMRO and other locations for organizations like the Composers’ Association of South Africa, SAMRO itself, and other key industry players. He was a keynote speaker at Moshito 2010 and 2011, the Nelson Mandela Bay International Music Conference, Talking Heads, Born to be Famous (Artist Management) and twice at Music Exchange, the world-beating international music conference held in Cape Town. He was invited to give the keynote speech at the Hart van Windhoek Music Workshop in Namibia and IP conferences in Zimbabwe and Uganda, and is, in general, a regular presenter on the Southern African music scene. Nick has, in addition to his three books, written various published articles on topics like Needletime, 360 Degree Contracts, Royalty Streams, Music Contracts and other legal and business topics.

Nick’s qualifications, experience, career and passions are combined in music, law, business and education. This makes him one of the few people truly qualified to write his ground-breaking book, to mentor young musicians and music industry professionals, and to lecture on Music Law, Contracts and Business, a topic which is so vital to the development of a dynamic and successful music industry in Africa.

Importantly, Nick still plays the drums and remains an active member of the South African musical fraternity.


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