APRA to make direct music licensing easier
On 16 April 2010, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) re-authorised the Australasian Performing Right Association’s (APRA) music licensing arrangements which provide a centralised means for businesses or individuals to obtain music licences rather than dealing directly with individual artists.
In the context of its review, the ACCC expressed concern that some of APRA’s arrangements were unnecessarily onerous, discouraged direct dealing between its members and music users and reduced price competition between artists. In light of the ACCC’s concerns, APRA has agreed to simplify its arrangements to make it easier for members to negotiate music licences directly with music users.
While artists or their record companies are currently able to negotiate directly with music users under APRA’s “opt-out” or “licence back” arrangements, APRA has agreed to limit some of the requirements of its licence back arrangements to make it easier for members to grant licences directly. Specifically, APRA will now require less information from its members about the proposed licence with music users and has reduced its notification period for those arrangements. Currently, ARPA requires members to notify it of a direct licensing arrangement not less than one month before a user proposes to use that music.
As a result of these changes, businesses will now have more choice in how they source music which may have the effect of reducing the costs of licensing music. APRA’s new arrangements will be more beneficial to businesses which wish to license only a targeted selection of music from a small number of artists (eg, businesses wishing to use only one artist’s song for an advertising campaign). Businesses wanting to acquire a licence to use a wide variety of music from APRA’s repertoire (eg, fitness centres, retail stores and supermarkets) will still benefit from the current cost saving arrangements by dealing directly with APRA.
APRA has announced that it will implement these changes in the near future.