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Chapter 9: Copyright compliance

You can make sure you comply with music licensing obligations under the Copyright Act by checking your obligations with OneMusic Australia – it’s a mandatory part of operating a live music venue.

Why do you need a licence?

As a live music venue, you’ll directly benefit from using music to entertain and retain customers. If your venue plays music, has live music performances, or if you have music available online or copied, the law (under the Copyright Act) requires you to obtain a licence from OneMusic Australia.

Such licences grant permission from, and ensures payment to, the copyright owners - the songwriter, composer and music publisher who
made (and own) the piece of music you’re using in your venue and the record labels and artists who made and own the recordings that you
play. The other option is that you contact and obtain permission from the owners of each piece of music or recording you play, stream, download or copy, which can be time consuming and expensive.

Best Practice

  • Contact OneMusic Australia to make sure you’re meeting your legal requirements to use music. A range of licence options have
    been developed to suit all types of businesses.
  • Read more on copyright from an independent source, the Australian Copyright Council
  • Ask OneMusic Australia about other ways to bundle the licence fee to get more out of music use (from background music, karaoke, playing radio and television, DJ
    performances, special events). One type of licence available to you is the OneMusic Hotels, Pubs, Taverns, Bars and Casinos licence. If you have Live Music Performances under this licence scheme you could:
  • Pay the musicians a fee and NOT offer them a share of door receipts (or perhaps you don’t have an admission charge). The licence fee in this case would be 2.2% of your annual gross spend on musicians.
  • NOT pay the musicians a fee but offer them a share of door receipts. The licence fee in this case will be 1.65% of the total share of annual door receipts paid to musicians or their agents.
  • Pay the musicians a fee AND a share of door receipts. The annual live music licence in this case will be 2.2% of your gross spend on musicians and 1.65% of the total share of annual door receipts paid to musicians or their agent.


OneMusic Australia

In Australia music creators generally authorise two organisations to administer their rights and collect their royalties – APRA AMCOS (composers and music publishers) and PPCA (recording artists and record labels). A OneMusic licence bundles all those rights into one licence and further simplifies the process of gaining the required permission.


APRA AMCOS (the Australasian Performing Right Association and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) is a music rights management organisation which
licenses performing, communication and reproduction rights in music on behalf of more than 100,000 members and 140,000 licensees with 170 affiliated organisations worldwide.

About PPCA

PPCA (the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia) is a not for profit collecting society which licenses rights in sound recordings and music videos on behalf sound recording rights owners (eg record labels and recording artists).