It’s no secret that many businesses in the country aren’t exactly doing it easy at the moment. Juggling all the demands of running a business and making a profit isn’t simple and more bills to pay are never welcome news.
On the other hand, imagine this.
You’ve opened your business for the day. Someone comes in, uses your services or buys product or orders a meal. And when they’re finished, they just walk out. Without paying.
Would this bother you? No doubt.
This is what happens to musicians when businesses play music and aren’t correctly licensed.
And it’s costly if caught out as a Melbourne bar recently discovered. They were ordered to pay $200,000 in damages for not having the right licences in place.
Balancing these two viewpoints is what the merging of Australia’s two music licensing bodies (APRA AMCOS and PPCA) aims to achieve. But there are concerns and pushback from a number of industry organisations.
Stu Watters, Director of Licensing and Business Affairs here at Nightlife, gives his top tips for what you need to know in this video. For more detail, read on below.
What is the deal?
Well, currently you need to hold two licenses to play music in a business in Australia; one with APRA AMCOS (representing the songwriters, composers and publishers) and one with PPCA (representing the sound recording artists and record labels).
Right now, a comprehensive consultation and review process is underway across every business sector, to streamline licensing and make it easier to understand.
By July 2019 a new body – OneMusic Australia – will be up and running. It will operate as a one-stop shop for any business using music as part of their day to day operations. It’s designed to be simpler and easier for businesses to be compliant with music licensing requirements.
But will it be?
What’s wrong with it right now?
It’s a bit confusing for most businesses. Some business owners might know about and hold a license with one licensing body and not the other.
And those who hold both licenses would have had two sets of conversations – one with APRA AMCOS and one with PPCA to work out what to pay and what metrics are required to determine their fees. They’ll also be tracking two different licensing periods.
Hang on, why should I pay for music?
Because music enhances your business and musicians deserve to be paid for their work.
You’re also disregarding licensing requirements if you use your personal streaming account (regardless of whether it’s a paid subscription) or play CDs or downloaded music.
What you need to be savvy about is ensuring you aren’t being overcharged when the new licensing is introduced.
Why is it such a hot topic right now?
Proposed fees for different sectors are being released and businesses are getting a look at what they would be likely to pay under the new fee structure.
Some industry associations feel their constituents will be worse off once the changes come into effect. You can read the various consultation documents here.
What’s happening next?
At the moment it’s still in consultation mode. On the OneMusic website you can find a breakdown of the new license segments. In principle this is a simpler model than the current one but merging two businesses who treat their copyrights differently is tough and there are 16 different business sectors to refine.
What should I do now?
There’s no real change to any of the licenses right now so it’s business as usual for the time being. Also, the consultation papers are exactly that: proposals for new schemes.
If there’s anything you want to add into the mix, check the due dates – you may still have time to get your feedback submitted via the OneMusic website.
If you are a member of one of the various associations that represent your sector, then we would recommend speaking with them directly.
There are many changes being proposed across the board and without a doubt these will have an impact on your licensing costs.
Ideally you should be looking at the proposals, reviewing your current fees and seeing what changes will affect your business.
And of course, we have licensing experts here at Nightlife Music to help you understand the changes once they come into effect mid next year.