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16 May 2019

Ombudsman calls for fair due for Australia’s small business artists

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has called for more transparency in the collection and distribution of royalties to musicians through the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) before it is re-issued its 5-year licence to operate.

“We have asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to take into account a number of conditions that would give Australian small business artists their fair due and make APRA’s reporting obligations more transparent,” Ms Carnell said.

“APRA has a near monopoly on the collection of fees from businesses that play music and the royalties are distributed to artists based upon what is played on commercial radio.

“This means emerging Australian artists whose airplay is mostly through community radio, background music, internet radio and other broadcasters do not get paid the royalties they otherwise should.

“This approach makes it difficult for home-grown emerging artists to get their fair share of royalties.

“A number of Australian small businesses and industry associations have also raised concerns about how APRA determines its fees for small businesses based on maximum capacity instead of opening times and the actual capacity during those times.

“For example, venues are charged based upon their total capacity rather than the area of the venue that is being used at any point.

“These, and a number of other issues in our submission to the ACCC are critical to the future of Australian small businesses and must be addressed before the APRA licence is re-issued.”