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News May 30, 2023

APRA Responds on New Performance Royalty Splits: ‘Discussions With Members Have Been Constructive’

Senior Journalist, B2B
APRA Responds on New Performance Royalty Splits: ‘Discussions With Members Have Been Constructive’

APRA’s decision to break with its traditional splits for concert royalties is now deep in the discussion stage with members, with those talks “constructive” and many “understanding the rationale” for the change, reps for the collecting society say.

As previously reported by The Music Network, APRA is moving ahead with a new distribution practice for major concerts, those where APRA licenses the promoter directly.

In a nutshell, the support acts will earn less from the performance of the songs, the headliners will earn more.

Of course, the vast majority of support acts for major concerts in these parts are homegrown talent. It’s their bank balances that’ll experience a sinking feeling.

Through the new development, songs performed by support acts at major concerts in Australia and New Zealand will be allocated a 20% split of APRA royalties from the concert, whereas songs performed by the headliner will be allocated 80% of the royalties.

Until now, the system was roughly split at 66/33. Though, according to the performing rights organisation, in some territories the support act receives only a 10% cut, with the headliner taking the remaining 90%.

The times, they are a changing.

The new splits will apply to concert royalties distributed from November this year, but don’t apply to events those festivals that APRA licenses.

In a statement issued overnight, Alison Wright, APRA AMCOS head of membership, explained that APRA was out of step with international distribution practices, and the revenue stream was at risk of direct licensing, a ploy that would cut APRA and its members out of the action.

“Our main goal has been to retain revenue and preserve royalties in Australia and New Zealand for local artists by reducing the incentive for direct licensing,” Wright explained.

“Direct licensing can occur when an affiliate society opts to enter a direct agreement with the promoter on behalf of their songwriter members,” Wright added. 

“We recognise that Australian and New Zealand support acts have benefited from our previous approach to royalty splits and it has been important to balance this change against the approach taken by other collecting societies. Our discussions with members have been constructive with many understanding the rationale for the change.”

APRA said in the consulting phase members and their managers were asked for feedback on moving to a 75/25 or 80/20 split.

The changes have been approved by the APRA board, and, as reported earlier, APRA is pushing ahead with communicating its changes with members and their managers.

TMN has heard from artist managers who are concerned that the music community, already struggling with a multitude of challenges – from spiking freight costs through to a national singles chart bereft of local creations – is squared-up for another gut punch. 


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