August 4, 2020

What RISA is all about

Risa Logo
Image Credit: www.risa.org.za

If you read the previous blog post, I touched on Airco (Association of Independent record companies of South Africa.

But if you are new in the music industry you should also familiarize yourself with another music body called RISA.

In this article, I’ll summarize all you need to know about RISA. So without further ado……

What is RISA?

RISA is short for The Recording Industry of South Africa and operates as a non-profit organization.

Risa’s mandate is to promote the interests of individuals and companies involved in recording, manufacturing and distribution of music.

The organisation is also responsible for certifying Gold, Platinum and multi-platinum sales for physical, digital download and streaming.

Say you sell 100 000 units of your album independently, you would need to provide the proof in the form of statements/records to Risa in order to get the certification.

The Recording Industry of SA is also responsible for organizing the annual South African Music Awards and is the only body allowed to do so.

And since they operate as a non-profit organization, their main source of revenue is derived from levies and membership fees.

This brings me to the next point.

How to register with RISA

In order to be a RISA member, you would either have to trade as a formal record label (major or independent), a Manufacturer (of CDs and DVDs) or a distributor.

Back in the day, all you had to do was download a PDF form on the Risa website, print, fill out the application and send it back to them via email.

But that has since changed because now you have to register on their online portal first.

I would also suggest that you have the following documents ready before you register for membership

  • Company registration documents
  • You ID Copy and/or director ID Copies
  • Proof of Business or residential address

RISA ISRC Codes

Before I explain to you on how you can get Risa ISRC codes, let me first explain what an ISRC code is just in case you don’t know.

ISRC is short for International Standard Recording Code and is used to identify sound recordings and music video recordings

The ISRC code is made up of the country code, registrant code, year of reference and the designation code.

For example, a South African ISRC code will look like this: ZA-B40-20-00123

Each song that is released commercially should have a unique ISRC code assigned to it in order to track sales (physical format, digital and streaming). 

In South Africa, Risa is the only agency which is allowed to assign ISRC codes. But I must also state that you don’t have to be a member in order to get a Risa ISRC code. Yes, that’s right.

You can apply for the ISRC code by submitting your company registration documents and a copy of your ID.

If all is in order, you should get the code within 24 hours. And it’s free of charge!

Final Thoughts

Just to sum it up, the Recording Industry of South Africa is an organisation that represents the music industry in South Africa.

If you have an entity and formally trading you might want to consider registering as a fully-fledged member.