News June 7, 2019

Conditions Apply: The ACCC expects more “transparency” from APRA

Conditions Apply: The ACCC expects more “transparency” from APRA

Australia’s competition and consumer watchdog is demanding greater transparency from APRA.

Every five years APRA must seek reauthorisation from the ACCC to continue doing business. The current authorisations expire on June 28.

This time APRA is also seeking authorisation to operate its new OneMusic Australia joint licensing initiative, which launches on July 1.

The ACCC is applying new conditions to the rights society to “increase transparency” and “help protect songwriters and small businesses” when they deal with the organisation.

They are also directing APRA to use plain english when communicating their fees and conditions in a simple-to-understand guidebook.

The ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said APRA has a “near monopoly” because of its exclusive deals with artists, and “this raises a risk of higher prices for businesses that play music, and other inefficiencies or restrictions for APRA members”.

But Keogh also noted, “It’s more efficient for APRA members to collect royalties jointly, rather than every artist having to collect their own royalties and monitor compliance.”

Those wanting to contribute feedback to the ACCC before the authorisation have until June 21.

In a statement sent to TMN on Friday afternoon, APRA welcomed the ACCC’s draft determination.

“We note the ACCC proposes to introduce strengthened conditions to increase transparency around how APRA’s licence fees are calculated and the way APRA distributes those licence fees to its members.

“We’re obviously still considering the detail of those proposed conditions and will respond. APRA is always very willing to work with the ACCC to address concerns.

“We see our regular ACCC re-authorisation process as a valuable exercise in corporate governance, which helps APRA achieve international best practice when it comes to the collective licensing of music, serving the interests of both our 100,000+ songwriter and music publisher members but also the 140,000 locations we license to use music as part of their everyday service offering.”

represents the rights of 110 affiliated performing and mechanical societies around the world and reached a major milestone in its 92-year history by welcoming its 100,000th member last September.

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