Ins and outs of music licensing for breweries

Most breweries are open to the public and are playing music to entertain guests. Find out what kind of permission you need to play music and what licence scheme applies to the brewery sector.

OneMusic and the Independent Brewers Association hosted a webinar with Stav Yiannoukas of Hawkes Brewing Co. in May 2023 to answer questions from this new, exciting and music-loving sector.

Love the last comment from Stav. (we are) supporters of original live music in Australia (and) should be recognised, (this is) a real positive


The full recording of the webinar is available right here, and some of the most frequently asked questions are answered below.

We are a brewery that is currently on a package with OneMusic that includes 1 music device and 1 TV screen. Does our OneMusic background music licence cover us to have Kayo and Foxtel on that screen?

Under the background music cover a 'TV Screen' is defined as any screen that plays sound and that carries free-to-air or pay television (including Fox Sports, Foxtel) including if it’s from an associated audio source. We would need to know whether your Kayo subscription is a personal or a commercial subscription to be able to advise what licence cover you need.

We don't consider screens exclusively playing racing or betting services or screens that do not have an associated audio source a background music TV screen.

Sole, dedicated Keno, TAB and Sky Sports screens are also excluded. 


We have a music promoter that organises the live music at our venue. Is it the music promoter or the venue that needs the licence?

As the authorising entity the venue is required to hold the licence in almost all cases. There is a list of National Event Promoters who have their own arrangements with OneMusic, but these are for very large and elaborate events See the list of National Event Promoters.

Who are your members? Are they only original music artists?

Our members are the music creators. OneMusic is a jointinitative of APRA AMCOS and PPCA. APRA AMCOS members are songwriters and music publishers. PPCA members are referred to as 'licensors' and are record companies, record labels and Australian recording artists. Both APRA AMCOS and PPCA have affiliations with around 70 international music rights management organisations. OneMusic controls the use of that music in Australia just as the international societies do in their own territories and countries. This is due to a reciprocal arrangement between these organisations.

We have a Brewery with an upstairs bar space as well as a downstairs bar and outdoor space. If we were to have a live band playing upstairs but playing music through Spotify downstairs would that require a difference in licensing type?

The Hotels, Pubs, Taverns, Bars and Casinos licence we offer can cover both formats. The background music downstairs would be under a Gold package with Digital Delivery (in your case Spotify) plus the live music element upstairs would be licensed at 2.2% of your venue's expenditure on your artist fees. So a $300 payment to a band would mean $6.60 a night for music licence fees, min $27.50 a year (as at May 2023).

I am interested in the live music fees. Can you add some detail to that please?

The fees depend on how the performers are remunerated. Live Music licence fees are charged as follows:

  • 2.2% of the venues annual gross expenditure on the performers and/or
  • 1.65% of any door deals (if applicable) which are retained by the performers

Spotify is for “private use only” so we use “Soundtrack your Brand” instead plus we have a OneMusic Licence. Is this the right thing to do or are we doubling up? As in could we use Spotify (personal) and OneMusic licence instead?

A OneMusic licence does not override the terms and conditions of your Spotify licence. If your venue uses personal-use Spotify it needs both a background music package as well as digital copy and delivery fee. Using Soundtrack your Brand means you avoid the digital copy and delivery fee but still need our background music package.

So does the Audoo Audio Meter prioritise funds going to the artists played on Spotify (etc)? There are a lot of non-original Aussie artists playing on Spotify.

The Audio Meter fingerprints the songs actually being played at the venue where the device is installed. This data is added to the data we get from Spotify to make sure we are paying artists more accurately. Yes, there are a lot of artists on Spotify who are not playing the music they have written themselves. The good things is a OneMusic licence remunerates the recording artist AND the songwriter and others who own the copyright.

The 'smaller artists' on Spotify are still larger than our local/regional original artists in our region... we'd prefer to pay money direct to our local artists to help them have a viable profession... and we do do this. $900 is 3 sessions for an artist we could pay direct, instead to artists that are not in our area at all.

If you would like to only play only the music from a select songwriter or a local group you can make financial and legal arrangements with them directly. This is called Dealing Direct. The Dance School sector does this sometimes, commissioning works that they have playing in their dance schools and not playing anything else from our repertoire. Read more under DEALING DIRECT on our FAQs.

The scaling of the fee is a very valid point... small micro-brewery being charged the same amount as large venues.

Our rates were set in consultation with industry bodies. Yes, our scheme is not built on square metres. But, small venues are unlikely to have the 10-plus TV screens which marks the highest licence fee rate of around $4,000. The single TV screen, single music system licence product is most popular for breweries and is under $1,000 if a digital music service is in use. If a venue operates (open to the public) less then 150 days a year they are entitled to a 50% discount.


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