Why businesses need a licence if they play music

Director of Business Operations at OneMusic, Phil Akouri speaks to Mike Loder of Ticker news on why Australian business owners need to know about music licensing.

Want to know more about licensing your business?

 Whether you're a retailer, salon, gym, cafe or restaurant, bar, or any other service provider - We have the licence for you. 



Mike: Hello and welcome back to the program. Now, if you have a business and you use music you most likely need a music licence - you may or may not be aware. OneMusic is the main licensing body for Australia, servicing over 80,000 businesses keeping them safe and protected. For more, I am joined by Phil Akouri Director of Business Operations at OneMusic, to help understand a little bit more about all of this. Phil, why is music licensing so important for those who are unaware still?

Phil: Good to see you mate, music licensing is really important because it helps sustain the music industry as a whole. The licence fees received support the creators of music, the viability of those songwriters and artists to get paid for their creations so it's super important. Without all that, the bottom line is that it's part of copyright law, so you need a licence to play music.

Mike: Yeah, cross your 'T's and dot your 'I's when it comes to this stuff. We've obviously seen Tiktok remove a bunch of stuff, there's a lot of discussion going on in this. What industries does music licensing apply to? I know there's people out there who might think there are grey areas, or think they don't need to use this licensing. Tell us a little bit more...

Phil: Essentially, all industries require a licence, so you know if you're a fitness centre, cafe or a hotel, or a bar/nightclub and use TVs, screens, radios, streaming services, all those industries to varying degrees require licences for the use of music. There is no one licence that fits all, but its a general requirement to have one. 

Mike: Not only a requirement, but also a defence mechanism to protect yourself and your business, so the flip side to this is just making sure you've got it, so that you don't have to worry about it.

Phil: Yeah exactly, and it's interesting you bring up the recent Tiktok and Universal Music Group situation, part of what we try and do is to facilitate and try and stop those situations from occuring.

Mike: Yeah and I don't think they actually reached an agreement in the end and it was all a bit of a kerfuffle, and its still ongoing. Let's talk about OneMusic - How do you guys use technology to collect data and distribute royalties accordingly, actually making sure artists get what they need?

Phil: We use various types of technology. Over the last 15-20 years, the music industry itself has grown to huge megaproportions - we're processing billions of plays a month. We use cloud-based technology in the most part to churn and process through all that data. We're also at the forefront of some emerging technologies, music recogntion tech. So that's where an audio track has been fingerprinted, and can be analysed and identified in real time.

Mike: That is some clever stuff. I know there's an app or a couple of apps where I find myself standing at a bar trying to figure out what song it is. It's just incredible technology when it works, I know sometimes it misses the mark. Can you talk about the Audoo Audio device and what that does?

Phil: It's kind of an extension of what you've explained standing up in the bar - similar sort of concept but it's got some smarter tech in it that can do the crunching (of information) on the fly in real time. It gives us the opportunity to analyse the data faster than we've ever been able to. It's backed by some pretty well known songwriters like Bjorn (Ulvaeus) from ABBA, Sir Elton John, and a few other big names behind it, so we're really proud to get involved with it, and lead the way in the world.

Mike: When it comes to utilising this technology it's so cool, and again that artists get their dues. We know that there are some big music streaming services out there that don't exactly pay back what they perhaps should. Where can business owners find out more about music licensing, and of course if they need one? You did mention gyms and things like that before you gave some great examples. Tell us a bit more about where they should be looking I guess, to start?

Phil: A starting point could be our website onemusic.com.au, or you can just jump on the internet and search "Do I need a music licence?", and all the information should pop up there for you. We're active on socials - Instagram, LinkedIn, and thinks like that but start with our website. 

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