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COSBOA responds to false statements from APRA AMCOS

Our CEO listed APRA AMCOS, the PPCA and other copyright collection societies as “job killers” in his Press Club address last week.

We were disheartened to see that APRA AMCOS responded with a “fact check” of our CEO’s statements on its website. 2020 is not the time to be misrepresented as someone who doesn't know the facts (clever marketing, APRA AMCOS), so here is our fact check of their fact check.

Statement by APRA AMCOS

It is false that APRA AMCOS and OneMusic Australia are shadow regulators.


The statement “APRA AMCOS and OneMusic are shadow regulators” is not a true or false statement. It is an opinion.

We call them shadow regulators because, as they point out, they are not a government regulator, they are a music rights management organisation and a private company limited by guarantee.

As the only music rights management organisation in Australia, they effectively “regulate” business’ compliance with the Copyright Act by communicating to businesses (in a way that appropriates the language and style of an actual regulator) their legal obligations around paying for the use of copyrighted music and the consequences of not complying.

The Victorian Government even recently made having a OneMusic licence a requirement for venues to receive a grant! As if OneMusic were a government body like the ATO or the various state government bodies that give licences for selling alcohol, driving certain types of vehicles, etc.

Statement by APRA AMCOS

“A comparative study of music licence fees in Australia, Canada, UK, France, US, Ireland and New Zealand shows that music licensing in Australia is the lowest for retail businesses, the third lowest for hotels and bars, and the median for restaurants.”


This is spin. OneMusic conducted a comparative study that created hypothetical businesses with metrics it knew would make Australia look good. And even so, no amount of manipulation could make the recorded music for dance use fee seem reasonable.

The hypothetical business in their “study” (on page 13 of this letter) would pay $123.64 in Australia (a fee that will have gone up to $160 by 2021 for some unknown reason) $149.93 in Canada, and even more in NZ, Ireland, the UK, the US, and France.

This business has a premise of 50 square metres. Once an Australian retail business has a premise larger than that (irrespective of its turnover or other measures that actually indicate the ability of the business to pay for music), the fees start increasing, with the highest one being $4250. In Canada it remains $149.93. Oh, and in Australia businesses have to pay an extra $500 a year if the music is audible from the car park.

But why did our CEO say that Australia’s fees were the highest in the world?

We calculated the average fees for each country included in OneMusic’s “study” and found that Australia’s were the highest at $12,473.81. The second highest is the UK at $6,631.71 – that’s a pretty big difference.

So, APRA, until you do something about the absurd recorded music for dance fee, it is actually true to say that OneMusic has the highest copyright rates for music in the world.

Statement by APRA AMCOS

“Around 6 in every 10 dollars of APRA AMCOS licence fees collected are paid to local songwriters and music publishers. This includes payments to local publishers for international works and the local publishers would then on-pay a portion of that revenue to publishers overseas.”


This is spin. APRA AMCOS doesn’t want to tell you how much of its revenue goes overseas so it includes payments to local publishers for international works in its calculation of “6 in every 10 dollars of licence fees” staying local. Here is a question: what percentage of that 6 in 10 is paid to songwriters and what percentage is paid to publishers? What portion do local publishers pay to overseas publishers?

Statement by Jenny Morris, Chair of APRA AMCOS

“Peter Strong got the title of my song wrong.”


Peter Strong was not stating the title of one of Jenny Morris’ songs, he was doing a play on words based on her song lyrics.


APRA AMCOS/ OneMusic is a minor issue for small business at the moment. To read the major advocacy priorities of COSBOA during stage 4 lockdown, click here. To read our Road to Recovery document, click here. To read our Economic Recovery Blueprint, click here.



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