Better Deal for Artists ordered by Copyright Tribunal - MusicNSW

Australian recording artists and record labels will receive a better deal when their music is played in nightclubs and at dance parties following a decision handed down today in the Copyright Tribunal.

The Tribunal has approved an application by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) for an increase in music licence fees paid to artists and record labels by dedicated nightclub venues and commercially organised dance parties.

In the first comprehensive review of this tariff ever undertaken by the Copyright Tribunal, the Tribunal has lifted rates for licensed sound recordings played in nightclubs from 7 cents per person to $1.05 cents per person. The dance party rate rises from 20 cents to $3.05 cents per person.

The decision follows a two week long case before the Tribunal (headed by a Federal Court judge) which heard expert economic evidence on the value of the licensed music played in nightclubs and at dance parties.

The Tribunal found:” The object of the tribunal in approving the proposed scheme is to fix upon a licence fee that can be regarded, as nearly as it is possible to estimate, on the basis of the evidence …as the fair market price for the privilege of playing the recorded music in respect of which (PPCA) is able to grant a licence. If it be the fact that the market rate is 30 times the rate that has hitherto been charged ..that is no reason why it should not now charge that rate.”

Responding to the decision, PPCA Board member and Mondo Rock musician Paul Christie said, “An increase in these tariffs is long overdue and will help compensate artists who create the product which is the foundation of the nightclub and dance party industries. Artists are entitled to a fair days pay for a fair days work and this will go some way towards compensating us for our creative output.”

Former drummer for the Go-Betweens and PPCA Board member Lindy Morrison said, “When we lose a musician in Australia the public grieves. It reminds us that many of our recording artists have very little finance to fall back on as they grow older. In my experience the community recognises that musicians have been given a poor deal and thats why these tariffs are important. Music bestows a cultural bond between us all and artists should be valued for this.”

PPCA Chief Executive Stephen Peach said the decision was a pleasing step forward and endorsed PPCAs argument that recording artists and labels deserved a fairer return. “The music is the key to attracting patrons and driving revenue in these venues. The Tribunal has recognised its important role and accepted our evidence in support of a rate rise.”

” This is a modest increase when considering nightclub operators typically charge $10.00 per person for admission, $5.00 for a drink, $2.80 for a bottle of water and $2.00 to hang up a coat”, Mr Peach said.

“The recorded works of artists and their recording companies have been undervalued in many areas for far too long,” said John O’Donnell, Chairman of the PPCA Board. “This decision goes some way to addressing that and is very much welcomed by the artist community and record labels.”

The new rates will not affect community events, weddings or family functions.

For further information contact:

Stephen Peach
02 8569 1100

Felicity Moffatt
0418 677701

A full copy of the judgment can be seen at the link below.