Industry bodies and record labels head to Canberra to back Fair Pay for Radio Play bill

aria awards fair play radio bill Annabelle Herd

Representatives will contribute to Thursday’s hearings

Representatives from ARIA, PPCA, Mushroom Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group will meet in Canberra to back the Fair Pay for Radio Play bill at hearings held today.

The Copyright Legislation Amendment (Fair Pay for Radio Play) Bill 2023 was introduced by Senator David Pocock, and amends the Copyright Act to remove caps on the amount of money payable to rights holders when music is played on commercial and ABC radio.

Currently, recording royalties are capped at 1% of commercial radio revenue and 0.005c per head of population for ABC Radio – these caps do not exist for any other type of copyright in Australia. 

Currently, commercial radio earns around $1 billion in advertising revenue and pays $4.4 million in copyright fees for the use of sound recordings. 

The industry bodies argue that the caps prevent the recording industry from negotiating a fair market rate for sound recording royalties paid by radio, and that radio has built a successful business model around the use of recordings, yet it pays very little for their use.

These arguments are denied by the union, MEAA, and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), which have both made submissions that a proposed change to the Copyright Act could harm local radio in regional and remote communities, making their operation unsustainable. They also predict that the proposed changes will lead to a further reduction of local media content.

See Also: MEAA and CRA: Proposed Bill would “harm” radio in regional and remote communities

ARIA and PPCA CEO, Annabelle Herd, said: “Today we make our case for a level playing field, for the very simple and reasonable right to have a conversation with radio about the fair market value of a sound recording. This is not a bid to hurt radio, but a simple request to be able to negotiate without legislated limits on what artists’ sound recordings are worth. 

“Seventy per cent of Australians say ‘without music I wouldn’t listen to the radio’. Music and radio should be natural partners, but at the moment it is not an equal partnership. Without sound recordings, artists, and record labels, the music radio business model does not work. It’s been a long time since radio needed help establishing itself and the burden of subsidising a profitable and successful industry should not fall on artists and labels.

“Legislated price caps are very rare in any sector or product in the economy and must be justified by strong public policy objectives. That is clearly not the case here. There is no public policy reason to justify this heavy-handed regulatory intervention which limits what one party can charge for its product. In FY2023, 83.5% of PPCA royalties were paid to individuals or entities in Australia. Without a cap these recipients – and Australian music – stand to see a real benefit. This is why over 500 Australian artists have signed a letter in support of this Bill.”

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