Cinemas

Music licence for cinemas

“Music and cinema fit together naturally. Because there’s a kind of intrinsic musicality to the way moving images work when they’re put together. It’s been said that cinema and music are very close as art forms, and I think that’s true.” - Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Wolf of Wall Street)

If you run a cinema or ongoing cinema events, you need permission to perform music in your business. The Cinema licence from OneMusic gives you this by covering the playing of our music in the soundtracks of films, trailers and advertisements, plus music played in your cinema foyer or other common areas and telephone on hold. Learn more about how the licence fee for this scheme was set.


For questions or queries, please email cinema@onemusic.com.au.

Why do I need to pay for music in a film I am screening in public?

When a film producer is licensing music for their film, the copyright owner of the music (who could be the composer, songwriter, music publisher, record label, recording artist, or all of these people) usually will retain their performance and broadcast rights and instead assign or license these to a music rights management organisation. This means that when you show the film in Australia you will almost always need a performance licence from OneMusic for the music (or go direct to all of the copyright owners to seek permission). This is the same as when a film is shown on TV - the TV station will usually need a broadcast licence from a music rights management organisation like APRA AMCOS or PPCA or both.

Do I need a licence to play music in public places?

If you play music protected by copyright out loud in a public place for a commercial purpose such as a shop, a gym or a bar you need permission or you need to purchase a music licence. Legally this music use is different to playing music at home or in your car. This is called public performance of music.

What is the cost of a music licence for businesses?

Music licence costs depend on your business type, music devices and whether the music is protected by copyright. If you use the radio and you are a small shop the cost will be less than $100 a year to use music from OneMusic’s catalogue. If you are running a pub with more music use your costs will be higher.

How can I legally play music in my business?

Your business can legally play music protected by Copyright by getting permission first. Permission can be from OneMusic Australia in the form of a licence for millions of songs in its catalogue, from the artists themselves for every song, through a background music supplier or other means. You need permission or a licence when your stream music in your business.

What happens if I don't take out a licence?

If you want to play and enjoy the use of virtually any commercially released music from anywhere around the world, you should immediately enter into a OneMusic Australia licence, because using OneMusic Australia’s music without a OneMusic Australia licence can constitute an infringement of our copyright which, if not rectified, may ultimately lead to legal action.

Of course, we will happily talk with you about your music licensing and certainly provide a reasonable time frame for you to take out a licence before escalating the matter any further.

But, if our music continues to be used without permission, then we will be left with no option but to enforce our rights on behalf of our members and affiliates, which could involve court proceedings. Such action may result in the business having to pay the licence fees as well as other damages and legal costs.

Over 95% of businesses and organisations that we deal with are readily compliant.

How much is a music licence?

To purchase a music licence you select only the cover you need for your music devices. Music licence fees start $100 a year. Fees differ by industry, a shop pays a licence fee on its floor space, a nightclub on attendance and a café on seating capacity.