Network Blog

Reflections on fitness, wellness, health and more

Will new PPCA music fees bring about a two-tier club system?

The Network Blog recently posted the topic ‘One word to describe the reality of teaching with PPCA free music – fine!’, which generated a considerable response. The comments made by numerous instructors, and the occasional participant, clearly illustrate the differing opinions about the issue.

The fitness industry has spent a huge amount of time, money and energy fighting the PPCA through the courts, in a bid to prevent the massive price hike from $1 per class to $15 per class. However, the music industry won, and the fitness industry has responded by moving, largely, to a PPCA-free model whereby many clubs are now using exclusively non-original-artist music.

Because the industry was fighting the increase, it felt like this was what every instructor wanted – indeed, who would actually want a fee increase? However, now that the reality of instructing classes using PPCA-free music has hit home, this sense of unity is not as apparent.

While some comments have, understandably, bemoaned the loss of original artist music while accepting the reasons for it, others have welcomed the PPCA-free ‘covers’ because it has actually resulted in the abolition of the fees they pay to the PPCA.

Then, however, there are the few voices which until now we didn’t really hear. These are the instructors who are saying that they want to pay $15 per class to the PPCA in order to keep using original artist music (of course, it’s not the instructor who pays the fee – it’s the club in which they teach, so it would be interesting to see if they would be as keen to go with original music if it translated to the club’s increased costs being passed onto them in the form of reduced instructor fees).

So, what does this mean for Group Ex classes – and clubs? The differing opinions raise the spectre of a two-tier club system in which ‘standard’ clubs might use PPCA-free music while ‘elite’ clubs play original music and charge members higher membership dues to offset their PPCA fees.

Group Exercise, after all, is a very important retention tool for clubs – the sense of community fostered by classes and interaction with group ex instructors helps members establish that all-important loyalty and sense of belonging. If using PPCA-free music were to adversely affect attendance of classes, this in turn would negatively impact club membership – in which case, the management may decide that it is worth charging members more in order to provide them with the music they want. Or perhaps a section of clubs which are already considered ‘high end’ will differentiate themselves further by being the ones to continue using original artist music.

What is the vibe in the clubs you teach in? Can you envisage the development of a two-tier system?

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Posted by: Ann | 15-Aug-2010 07:28 PM | 3 out of 5 stars

As a long term instructor the biggest whinge I have is that I have invested thousands of dollars in music over the years, which I soon will not be able to use. Who is going to compensate me when I have to set about and build a totally new music library? At $40 a class, and doing 6 classes a week, this cost is unacceptable. Instructors once again will carry the cost! No wonder we are so short of instructors now.

Posted by: Sue | 20-Aug-2010 10:28 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

I agree, I have invested thousands of $'s in my fitness business and music they must think we are made of money! Instructors don't get pay increases it is a tough industry and not as glamorous as some make it out to be.

Posted by: Jack | 30-Aug-2010 12:56 PM |

LMAP are obviously trying to stop the creation of this two-tier situation by only issuing PPCA-free music from now on. Les Mills says that 90% of gyms are PPCA-free, I instruct at 8 different gyms across Sydney, 4 are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to becoming PPCA-free, the others are PPCA-free. I don’t think members have twigged that there are still PPCA clubs around though. Undoubtly all clubs will become PPCA-free, there is no point in a club being ‘eliete’ and promoting itself as being able to play original music in GF classes as there won’t be any instructors around with PPCA music anymore for LM classes, we only want to have one set of tracks at a time not chopping and changing. At the moment for me I do both, but over time I’ll get more songs and will become PPCA-free, even for the clubs that choose to keep paying.