You have to watch this! Sexy boy band surprises everyone, even Simon Cowell, on Britain’s Got Talent stage!

Watch as Coca Cola creates a little moment of magical happiness in Jozi that will make you smile!

Koos Kombuis

Where are the missing Rodriguez millions?

2013-02-27 13:06
The fairy tale has ended. The missing music legend has returned from obscurity. Rodriguez has risen from the dead. The film about his life has won an Oscar. Only one part of the puzzle remains unsolved.

What happened to the money generated by all his album sales over the years?

Until now, the old man who penned down all those incredible songs has been content to supplement his hometown handyman income with the occasional tour in South Africa, where rows filled with adoring fans probably helped bring home some much needed bacon. But the old man isn't getting any younger.

Deception and denial

A retirement annuity would be very nice. And the missing Rodriguez millions, if tracked down, could - and should - be this talented songwriter's cushion in years to come. Why carry fridges down staircases? Why carry on living in the same house? Why not move to a bigger place with a home recording studio, a "lekker" garden and a pool for his grandchildren to swim in?

Rodriguez deserves this money. That is certain. Unfortunately, that is the only certainty we have.

All the other details are as murky as the rumours, true or false, about Oscar Pistorius's mental state. We simply don't know what is going on, what has happened, or who did what to whom.

Like the financial side of music industry worldwide, the financial side of the South African music industry is a labyrinth of deception and denial.

Memories are short, the holes where stuff can disappear into are big, and sadly too many record label executives are acutely aware that the clients they work with tend to be notoriously sloppy, hopelessly idealistic, and completely impractical when it comes to managing their money.

If you can't even work out your own monthly beer budget, how would you know what people are doing with your royalties?

Shortage of copyright lawyers

Of course, it's not just the money from the album sales that is missing in this case. There are several other ways in which songwriters and singers are theoretically supposed to be able to earn their bucks: Publishing rights, mechanical royalties, money generated through airplay, etc. Most of them don't receive half of these funds simply because they don't know how to ask for it.

These are highly technical issues best handled by lawyers specialising in copyright. As things stand, we have a desperate shortage of these type of lawyers.

Off-hand, I'd guess there are about three of them in South Africa that I've heard of. Most people who study law go for the more lucrative fields such as property deals, divorce settlements, all the other sleazy stuff yuppies love to keep themselves busy with.

So my guess is that the issue of the missing Rodriguez millions is likely to become one of those dragged-out, unpleasant scenarios we have so long become used to in this country. Such as the alleged arms deal. Or the Inge Lotz murder. And even if we track down some of the missing Rodriguez millions, we will certainly never track down all of it.

In the end, all we'll be able to do is hum together in sympathy every time we hear these prophetic lyrics:

I wonder
How many times you've been had
And I wonder
How many dreams have gone bad… publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Recent News

And the ship sails on...

2014-03-12 11:56

In a very touching column, Koos Kombuis bids farewell to Channel24. Read this review

Channel24 columnist Koos Kombuis shares one of the most unforgettable evenings of his life: meeting well-known performer Herman van Veen. Read this review

inside channel 24

Now Showing at the Movies

Where is it showing...
OR find out what's on where...


More Gossip

This Week's Top Free Song



Download Now » Here’s the brand new track from Francois and the loud Bellville lads, their first new track for two years and well worth the wait.
Get More Free Music »

Jobs - Find your dream job

Property - Find a new home

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation.Book now! - shop online today

Sony BDP-S1100 Smart Blu-Ray Player now R699

This smart player supports multiple playback options including Blu-ray movies, DVD's, CD's and media files via USB. Plus stream movies, music and catch-up TV through the Sony entertainment network. Buy now!

DVDs under R100

Catch these epic blockbusters for under R100. Featured titles include, Frozen, Despicable Me2, About Time, The Animal Communicator and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

The Real Meal Revolution

The goal of The Real Meal Revolution is to change your life by teaching you how to take charge of your weight and your health through the way you eat. Order now! #1 selling product

gobii eReader + FREE wall charger and leatherette cover now R599, save R340. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.