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Changes coming to music licences for gyms and clubs in 2018

If you play music in your club, class or studio you’ll be interested to hear of a joint venture between APRA AMCOS and PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Ltd) – the two bodies that currently issue licences for the public performance of music.

In the latter half of 2018 the two licensors will launch a joint venture called OneMusic Australia, which will replace the current two-licence system with a single joint licence.

The OneMusic Australia website states that the new licences “will be developed in consultation with relevant parties, including industry associations and licensees as appropriate” and says that they will be “attractive and reflect fair and equitable fees in all instances.” Furthermore, it states that “In the majority of cases our aim is to develop new single licence structures that broadly reflect the combined fees currently payable to APRA AMCOS and PPCA.”

It is understandable that they are seeking to allay fears of a price hike – especially considering that there is some precedent in this area for the fitness industry.

Several years ago, PPCA was involved in a long legal dispute with the fitness industry (led by Fitness Australia), named ‘Operation M.U.S.I.C’, after it attempted to vastly increase the fees payable by gyms and clubs for playing music – a situation that would have been impossible for many smaller clubs to endure if they had wanted to continue using original artist music. The fitness industry succeeded in resisting the massive price hike, and worked with PPCA to agree on a fairer pricing structure.

And what if you now use PPCA-free music (i.e. cover music such as that available through Power Music) and therefore don’t use a PPCA licence? The OneMusic Australia website states: “If your business does not use any copyright music in any areas of the business you may not need a licence from the music creators represented by APRA AMCOS and PPCA, and therefore by OneMusic Australia.”

However, it’s unclear at this stage how the new single licence would affect licensees who currently don’t need a PPCA licence but who do need an APRA AMCOS licence.

It’s early days for the proposed new licencing system, but if you have any questions about how it will affect you, check out the FAQs on the OneMusic site, where you can also email to ask your own questions and sign up for updates to the venture.
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