Do you play music at your work place? If the answer is yes, even if it’s just in your staff room, then you need to pay a licence fee. Do you have back ground music on your website or call waiting? If so, you need a licence and this is a legal requirement.
Corporations and businesses are increasingly using music as they recognise the benefits it provides. Background music enhances a company’s image, improves employee productivity and builds team spirit. The majority of Australian companies have recognised their obligations in this regard and have secured the appropriate APRA AMCOS licences to mitigate their legal risks.
What is APRA AMCOS?
APRA AMCOS is a music rights management organisation and is not a government body. The licence covers the rights of the songwriter, composer and publisher who made and own the music. Approximately 85 per cent of the licence fee goes to songwriters, composers and publishers as royalties. The remaining 15 per cent is used to administer these royalties.
How do you get a licence?
We recently spoke to Alison Clarke from the Riverfront Gallery, who have paid their licence to AAPRA. Alison pays for Spotify so thought she may be covered, but no. Although it is a cheaper licence if you use CD’s or the radio, the Riverfront Gallery paid for a full licence, about $300 per year as the different managers of the gallery all use music in different ways. The fee is calculated on floor space and staff numbers as well as the type of business and way in which the music will be used. The website has all the information you need to work out your licencing needs and you can live chat or telephone to work out which licence suits your needs.
Soon after paying the licence fee to APRA, Alison was surprised to receive an invoice in the mail for further fees ($80) from PPCA. PPCA stands for the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Ltd. It is a separate organisation to APRA AMCOS and grants licences for the broadcast, communication or public playing of recorded music (such as CDs, records and digital downloads) or music videos.
This is set to change in early 2019 with the creation of OneMusic Australia; an APRA AMCOS and PPCA joint venture which will mean you will billed for both in one account.
What happens if I don’t have a licence?
APRA AMCOS will give you time to pay for a licence. If this fails and you refuse to pay they enforce their rights on behalf of its affiliate members. This could involve court proceedings or debt recovery and could result in you having to pay the licence fees as well as legal costs and debt recovery fees.
Musicians, composers and producers etc deserve to be paid just like the rest of us. These licences ensure this happens.