After years of talk and testing, the day has very nearly arrived. OneMusic Australia, APRA AMCOS and PPCA‘s new joint public performance licensing system, is all set to roll out. Still in the dark on what it all means?

TIO shines a light on what should be a major development for the music community.

It’s coming soon. Very soon.

July 1 is launch date. That’s Monday. Mark your calendar, set your alarms, do what you have to do.

It’s a one-stop licence for businesses that play tunes.

Ever noticed those PPCA and APRA stickers at the front door of your fave pub? From next week, they can be replaced by a OneMusic Australia sticker. It’s a two-for-one, a one-stop licence for a massive library of repertoire that rolls in both licences, covering the rights of the songwriter, composer, music publisher, recording artist and record label.

It’s not small beer.

According to APRA AMCOS (representing songwriters, composers and music publishers) and PPCA (representing major and indie record labels and Australian recording artists), more than 100,000 premises nationwide use music as part of their commercial activity, from shops, pubs, gyms, festival, cafes, restaurants, bars. Anywhere you hear tunes and work gets done.

“By simplifying and unifying music copyright management,” says APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston, “OneMusic will make compliance easier and make sure rights holders are fully remunerated for both rights when their music is played in public.”

PPCA CEO Dan Rosen says it’s an “improved” licensing service for music users.

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Dean Ormston apra amcos CEO
Dean Ormston

Speaking of beer, music apparently makes the beer taste better.

Researchers have uncovered myriad fun fact on the way music impacts our behaviour. In one 2008 study in France, loud music was found to make an impact on the amount of beer you drink. More specifically, it was found to make you drink more, in less time, in a bar.

Other studies have found tunes can impact sales of burgers, make the wine taste better and encourage diners to buy the dessert. Also, loud, fast music apparently makes termites chew faster, but I digress.


It’s not a one-size fits all approach.

The minds behind OneMusic worked over “several years” to fine-tune its license for the size and scale of businesses in Australia, we’re told, and then factor in whether music featured, live, background or a combination of all these. Currently, there are 24 licence types covering cinemas, funeral directors, government, karaoke and more. The rates are “scalable” – which means a small boozer in Birdsville won’t pay the same fee as central Sydney’s most popular watering holes — and were set following consultation and negotiation with user groups.

How scientific is it?

This is the fun bit, that is, if you get excited about the idea of micropayments. It’s a tricky business. OneMusic has identified the main sources of data it will use to make their distributions:

• Individual commercial radio and television stations reporting the music they broadcast;
• Personal digital music services reporting the tracks they stream and volumes;
• Digital download services and record labels reporting the tracks or CDs they sell and their sales volumes;
• Services using Music Recognition Technology like digital fingerprinting and audio-recognition to match performances/broadcasts to their databases;
• Data from music providers who supply programmed curated music for specific industries, such as fitness;
• Background music suppliers who provide us with music reports from their clients’ playlists;
• Cue sheets of films screened at cinemas; and
• Set lists of musical works performed by artists and musicians at live/dance events and festivals supplied to APRA by event promoters.

OneMusic distributes the fees it collects to APRA AMCOS and PPCA, which then share to its members, affiliates and licensors, minus administration and operational costs (which are around 14 percent).

Dan Rosen
Dan Rosen

NZ got first play.

Our cousins across the tasman got first crack at it a full six years ago, with OneMusic NZ, a joint licensing initiative between APRA AMCOS NZ and Recorded Music NZ. APRA AMCOS’ head of NZ operations Anthony Healey spoke at length with TIO about the successes and challenges of the licensing scheme in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

It’s had its critics.

In their submissions to the ACCC on the reauthorisation of APRA, the likes of Nightlife and Shopping Centre Council of Australia specifically noted the new license, and in some cases offered suggestions, or reservations, on its implementation.

Noting OneMusic is an “extremely significant transformational change to music licensing,” the Australian Hotels Association had this to say, “Given the current complexity of the music licensing environment, AHA agrees in principle with any moves to simplify the process. However, at the same time, AHA must ensure that its members are at least no worse off.”

It’s the law, dummy

You can’t play licensed music in a so-called “business setting” without having the proper license. It’s a legal requirement under the Copyright Act (1968). If you don’t cover yourself, you can get seriously busted. Like the Melbourne café owner who was ordered by a court to pay $185,000 in damages for playing nine “offending” songs by the Beatles and Bay City Rollers and others without having the proper licence.

On the flipslide, the activities of OneMusic is covered by the Australian Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies.

Payment plans work too

OneMusic will issue quarterly invoices for accounts where licence fees are upwards of $500 each year. If times are tough, however, businesses can request a payment extension or payment plan. Ping them an email at [email protected]