Industry Re-Ignites Push to Remove Radio Caps: ‘Unfair and Anticompetitive’
The music industry has launched a campaign, including a petition, calling for radio companies to pay more royalties to artists.
The new campaign, spearheaded by PPCA, is called Radio Fair Play.
An accompanying petition calls on the House of Representatives to remove the broadcast radio caps on sound recordings from the Copyright Act, to ensure artists and rightsholders are paid fairly for the use of their music.
The current cap limits the amount Australian radio broadcasters are required to pay artists and labels to no more than 1% of the station’s gross annual revenue.
“Radio has built a successful business playing music, yet artists and rightsholders are not being paid a fair market rate when their music is played on the radio,” the petition says. “Artificial caps, set in the Copyright Act over 50 years ago, limit how much radio stations pay to play their music (specifically sound recordings). There are no caps in any other form of copyright, and numerous reviews have recommended the removal of these limits.
“The radio caps are unfair and uncompetitive. The caps should be removed allowing the market to determine an appropriate rate so artists and rightsholders are paid fairly for their music.”
Data from PPCA indicates commercial radio paid approximately $4.4 million a year for all music sound recordings used in the 2022 financial year, and that the ABC pays approximately $136,000 per year for all sound recordings used across its radio networks.
Despite the cap being 1%, PPCA said commercial radio broadcasters currently pay an all-industry fee of 0.4% of gross industry revenue to PPCA. Globally, the industry body said, rates are around 1.5% to 4%.
It also cited numerous reviews which had endorsed the removal of the cap. In addition, in 2006, then Attorney General Phillip Ruddock announced the caps would be removed, but this never eventuated.
The PPCA has recruited former Commercial Radio and Audio (CRA) CEO, Joan Warner, to consult on the initiative.
TMN understands the PPCA and Warner are currently securing meetings with the Attorney General and relevant ministers, and looking to launch the campaign properly in June with prominent artists.
In addition, it has launched proceedings in the Copyright Tribunal of Australia, where it will seek a determination on the appropriate and fair amount for royalty payments. Unless the existing 1% cap is removed from the legislation, however, the Tribunal will not be able to grant more than 1%, even if it determines a higher percentage would be a “fair fee”.
CRA has been approached for comment.