Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Public Performance Licensing

What is public performance licensing?

Public Performance Licensing refers to the legal obligations that businesses have to obtain permission to play music in a commercial environment. This is different from when you listen to music in a private environment i.e. at home or in the car.

Why aren’t my venue’s APRA/PPCA licence fees included in my Nightlife subscription?

APRA and PPCA requires each venue to have their own public performance licences because every venue uses music and music videos differently, thus each attracting different licence fees. We cover the licences needed to supply the music, known as mechanical copyright licences, but each venue is responsible for its own public performance licence.

Who are APRA|AMCOS and PPCA and why do we have to pay them for the right to publicly perform music?

Ownership of music can get very complicated. There’s the composer, the writer, the artist, plus the record company, managers etc. As it would be nearly impossible to seek the permission of every owner/stakeholder within every piece of music used in your business, Performing Rights Organisations make this easier by offering licenses for all the music in their repertoire, and any music that is owned by the same kind of organisation globally.

These are called blanket licenses. In return for these blanket licenses, Performing Rights Organisations charge a licensing fee based on the way their music is being used. This is then distributed back to their members as royalties. APRA AMCOS are the Performing Rights Organisation in Australia that collect and distribute royalties on behalf of the publishing community i.e. songwriters, composers and music publishers. PPCA is the Performing Rights Organisation in Australia that collect and distribute royalties on behalf of the owner of sound recordings i.e. record companies.

The easiest way to see this is that APRA|AMCOS members write the music and PPCA members record it. Sometimes the same person or group will write and record a song and they will get royalties from both organisations.

What are my licensing requirements?

There are three main considerations when using music in a business:

  1. Music you intend to play must be licenced for commercial use – which is what Nightlife supplies (CDs, MP3s, streaming services are for private use only);
  2. A licence to publicly perform any published music – or an APRA License is required
  3. A licence to publicly perform any sound recordings – or a PPCA License is required

It can get a little confusing but don’t worry, we have a team full of licensing experts who can help you understand exactly what you need.

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