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News October 3, 2023

APRA Pushes Back New Royalty Rate on Live Distributions

APRA Pushes Back New Royalty Rate on Live Distributions

APRA has pulled the handbrake on its controversial plans for a new distribution rate applied to promoted concerts, a maneuver that would lift the cut of royalties passed on to the headliner, and reduce those earned by the support acts.

As previously reported in The Music Network, the organisation has been gearing up for a 80/20 split in favour of the headliner, for those concerts in Australia and New Zealand that are directly licensed by APRA, and where there is a headliner and support (the proposed changes don’t apply to music festivals that APRA licenses).

Announced in May, those plans were scheduled to come into effect with the November 2023 royalty distribution but have been pushed back into the second half of 2024.

At the August APRA Board meeting, an amendment was approved for a new start date. As a result, changes to the distribution practice for major concerts will be effective for all setlists provided after June 1, 2024.

The go-slow was the result of discussions with members and managers, after which APRA’s directors acknowledged the planned rollout “did not take into consideration negotiations on guaranteed fees for support acts that were underway prior to the announcement.”

One of those sticking points, TMN understands, was Tones And I’s support for Pink, on the U.S. star’s 2024 Summer Carnival tour of ANZ, produced by Live Nation. With the activation date for the new split pushed back, APRA will now apply equal weighting to the trek.

Tones and I

When news broke of the new royalty split, one artist manager told TMN that the changes meant a “massive difference” in the performance royalties generated by Aussie support acts.

That proposed 80/20 split, APRA explains, brought the society into alignment with other countries and collecting societies with the purpose to retain revenue and preserve royalties in Australia and New Zealand for local artists.

The “overwhelming majority” of international affiliate societies distributed on a basis of 90/10, APRA reports, based on the assumption that the vast majority of punters in the room are there to see the top billed performer, and not the curtain raisers.

Despite the gloom spread by the pandemic, APRA AMCOS reported all-time high revenues and distributions to members in its most recent recent-full year report.

Public performance collections are APRA AMCOS’ oldest business; results in that sector were up by 23.2% to $77.5 million in its 2021-22 financial period.

Read more here.

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