General Background

OneMusic Australia commenced operation in 2019 to enable a ‘one stop shop’ as a single point of access for the licensing of music performed by businesses in Australia. Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) operates OneMusic Australia on behalf of itself, Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA)[1].

OneMusic Australia developed a suite of licences aimed at servicing the music needs of industries or sectors to address the different ways each industry or sector uses music. Licences are grouped, for convenience, into industries or sectors, which are called ‘schemes’ for the purposes of these Rate Setting Guides. For instance, the Retail & Service Providers scheme, the Fitness, Exercise & Wellbeing scheme, and the Hotels, Pubs, Taverns, Bars & Casinos scheme.

This summary sets out the general development process and rationale for the fixing of rates and rate structures across all of OneMusic Australia’s licensing categories and schemes. More detailed information regarding the setting of rates and rate structures for individual licensing categories or schemes are contained in the Rate Setting Guides.

The rights comprised in each OneMusic Australia licence scheme broadly involve the following rights:

  • the public performance of musical works in APRA’s repertoire (APRA Rights);
  • the reproduction (copying) of musical works in AMCOS’ repertoire (AMCOS Rights); and
  • the public performance and reproduction (copying) of sound recordings and the public performance of music videos in PPCA’s repertoire (PPCA Rights).

In general terms, the rates and rate structures across the suite of OneMusic Australia’s licensing categories and schemes have been fixed having regard to one or more of the following factors: 

  1. with reference to any relevant decisions of the Copyright Tribunal;
  2. by benchmarking against the rates and rate structures:[2]
     -  that existed prior to the commencement of OneMusic Australia; and/or
     -  that apply to comparable uses of comparable copyright material;
  1. an assessment as to the extent to which the rates and rate structures require modification as a result of being combined under a single licence category or scheme;
  2. the purpose and importance of music to the relevant industry, sector or music user;
  3. the nature of the businesses within the industry or sector (to avoid unintended inequity or administrative burden); and
  4. the number of rights exercised in the use of that music.

Each of the 6 (six) factors above are discussed below.

1. Copyright Tribunal decisions

The rates and rate structures that OneMusic Australia, APRA AMCOS and PPCA set are subject to review by the Copyright Tribunal of Australia (Copyright Tribunal). The Copyright Tribunal’s role is to determine the reasonableness of any given scheme that is referred to it.

Relevant decisions of the Copyright Tribunal have established the basis for the rates and rate structures for a number of licence schemes that existed prior to the commencement of OneMusic Australia, both for APRA AMCOS and for PPCA, and continue to underpin OneMusic Australia’s rates and rate structures for those schemes.

2. Benchmarking

The rates and rate structures that existed prior to the advent of OneMusic Australia were developed over time by APRA AMCOS and, separately, PPCA, and evolved with reference to a range of factors, including by consultations and negotiations with affected industries and, as noted above, by implementing relevant Copyright Tribunal decisions.

OneMusic Australia used the pre-existing rates and rate structures as a key input and benchmark for those developed for joint licensing under OneMusic Australia.[3]

Similarly, in many cases, OneMusic Australia fixes its rates and rate structures for particular licensing categories by benchmarking them against appropriate comparators, whether they be those applicable to similar uses of copyright material or the same uses in different, but comparable, jurisdictions.[4] For instance, the performance of live music under the scheme for hotels may be benchmarked against the rates payable for the playing of live music at a dedicated music venue. Or reproduction (copying) of music for the purposes of performing those recordings in public, could be benchmarked to the rates applicable for the physical copying of CDs for commercial manufacture.

Any future review of licence schemes, rates or rate structures would follow a similar benchmarking approach, albeit that that the pre-existing rates used would be the then current rates actually being charged by OneMusic Australia.

3. Joint Licensing

To enable a single point of access under OneMusic Australia’s joint licensing, several pre-existing APRA AMCOS and PPCA rates and rate structures required review and adjustment. This typically involved adjustments to the rate structure of previous licence categories (for instance, to align a PPCA rate structure that was based on a premises’ capacity to one based on attendance). Additionally, while rates were typically simply combined, there were instances where pre-existing APRA AMCOS or PPCA rates were adjusted to ensure that, in most cases, the joint rate was comprised of 50% for APRA rights and AMCOS rights and the other 50% for PPCA rights.[5]

4. Music purpose

In developing rates, OneMusic Australia starts with a ‘hierarchy of music’ that reflects the value of music. This hierarchy assists to determine the basis for charging with reference to the purpose and importance of music to the licensee business. This hierarchy is set out below:[6]

Music Value Hierarchy diagram - Essential Music at the top, Ambience Music just below, with Background Music at the base of the pyramid.

5. The Nature of the Businesses

When developing its rates and rate structures, OneMusic Australia considers the nature of the relevant businesses, so as to reduce the risk of unintended inequities or burdens. To achieve this, OneMusic Australia develops its licensing categories (and their rates and rate structures) so that they:

  1. are scalable (for instance, so that smaller businesses in the same licensing category do not pay the same amounts as larger businesses);
  2. reflect the way music is typically used in that particular industry or sector (for example, retail shops typically use mostly background music, with only some using featured or live music);
  3. provide for ease and appropriateness of reporting (that is, that the burden of regular reporting of music played or attendance is not required of businesses in circumstances where that would be too onerous relative to the value of the music); and
  4. are simple enough to encourage compliance.

OneMusic Australia separately makes an assessment as to which licence categories should be available under each licence scheme on the basis of historical licensing information.

6. The Number of Rights

Each licence category captures the nature and extent of the copyright involved in the use of music under that category. For instance, a public performance licence for musical works (the written song) may also include the public performance of the sound recordings of those works – that is, the licence for that use involves two separate rights. Similarly, a licence may also include a reproduction right (copying) for both or either of the musical works or sound recordings.

[1] Three of OneMusic Australia’s schemes – Dance and Performance Instructors and Dance School Scheme, Child Care Service Scheme, and Funeral Directors Scheme - also include some limited rights administered by the Copyright Agency and/or the Australian Recording Industry Association.

[2] OneMusic Australia’s benchmarking reflects the method for pricing copyright materials as recommended by the ACCC in its publication - ACCC Guidelines to assist the Copyright Tribunal in the determination of Copyright remuneration (April 2019) pp 14-16.

[3] This form of benchmarking is consistent with the approach recommended by the ACCC in its guidelines - ACCC Guidelines to assist the Copyright Tribunal in the determination of Copyright remuneration (April 2019) pp 15-16

[4] As noted by the ACCC in its guidelines, caution is recommended when using international benchmarking for the purposes of setting fees for Australia. However, in some cases, appropriate international rates can be included as a factor by OneMusic Australia when fixing its rates and rate structures.

[5] Phonographic Performance Co of Australia Ltd under Section 154(1) of Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), Re [2007] ACopyT 1 at [215].

[6] This hierarchy has been adopted by music licencing bodies internationally for many years and was, in a slightly different form, implicitly accepted by the Copyright Tribunal of Australia in Reference by Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd [2006] ACopyT 3.