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Cost of background music to increase

681 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MILIUX

CAFE and restaurant patrons could soon be eating in silence, after a proposal by Australia's largest record labels to increase the cost of background music by up to 2000 times.

The push to raise the cost of playing recorded music could also make gym membership more expensive unless fitness classes use artists excluded by Australian copyright laws, including Elvis Presley and Beethoven.

The bid by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia, which represents more than 750 record companies, follows a decision by the Copyright Tribunal to approve an increase of 15 times the music costs for the nightclub industry, which was recently endorsed by the Federal Court of Australia.

The Australasian Performing Right Association, which collects licensing fees on behalf of composers and artists, has launched a separate action for a tenfold increase in the fees paid by nightclubs for recorded music.

Buoyed by the nightclub ruling, the PPCA is now targeting eateries. It wants to increase licensing fees in a 120-seat restaurant to $19,344 a year — up from $125. Small cafes would be slugged with a 4729 per cent yearly increase from $124 to $5860.

Action against fitness centres is under way and the PPCA has indicated it will review the cost of playing music in pubs, shops and hairdressing salons.

Director of national affairs for the Australian Hotel Association, Bill Healey, said the huge tariff increases were unsustainable as the hospitality industry grapples with the economic downturn.

"The multinational record companies are obviously trying to reposition the cost of music, but they don't understand the economics of the businesses they're targeting," Mr Healey said.

"Businesses just won't play music or they will play music that won't incur a PPCA fee like classical music."

He said the AHA had already had discussions with several major recording labels to provide them with exclusive rights to play music in restaurants and cafes, which could compromise the PPCA's bargaining position.

The AHA has also asked the Small Business Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to examine the massive fee increases.

Mr Healey said illegal internet downloads were robbing the music industry of its main income source — CD sales — and the PPCA was looking for other ways to make money for record companies.

PPCA chief executive Stephen Peach said recorded music attracted patrons to venues and was significantly undervalued. "The rates we have historically charged are barely nominal and we are looking to establish a fair return. The cafe owner just has to ask if the music is worth it, and if it isn't they don't have to play it," he said.

Health-centre operators are also bracing for a sharp increase in the cost of music for exercise classes, with the Copyright Tribunal expected to make a decision next month. The PPCA has asked for an increase of 400 times the cost for music played in gyms, from 96 cents a class to $4.54 a month for every member.

Fitness Australia chief Lauretta Stace said the proposed increase would add about $5 to a monthly gym membership. "The PPCA wants a levy on each member, but when you go into a gym most people are listening to an iPod."
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gyms really should be paying more than restaurants - for them the noise is more key to their experience. That the collection agency wants absurdly more money is nothing new - it happens all the time just to make noise before some more sensible figure is arrived at. The compulsory licence provisions of the Copyright Act envisage a fair charge for use, a 10000% increase is obviously a mockery of that notion.
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Does this mean that businesses can't play the radio in a public place?
no. radio is a public broadcast (stations pay the royalties). the issue here is businesses that put on recorded music.
Couldn't they just not play music from those Australian Record Companies? Or do those companies do deals with the overseas ones too?
And the recording industry wonders why people pirate music.
Couldn't they just not play music from those Australian Record Companies? Or do those companies do deals with the overseas ones too?
I'm sure they can play Kazakhstan music for free.
There's a lot of up and coming artists that put their stuff out there hoping someone will listen, expecially in the dance music world, ie, gym style music. Maybe gyms and other businesses could start looking at something fresh like this, ie, playing stuff from upstarts that isn't yet protected by these laws.
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Who goes to a gym and doesn't have an mp3 player of some description in their ear? I sure as sh!t won't be paying $5 a month more to listen to the crappy dance tracks that fitness first feel the need to make me endure everytime I walk through the doors up until my mp3 player is switched on :eek:hno:
True, didn't think of that. Personally I have never done a class and don't intend to. In fact I would be more than happy to have a cheaper membership that does not include them. Gym memberships are expensive enough as it is.
I'm sure they can play Kazakhstan music for free.
Probably better than Australian music lol.
Hear hear. Nikki Webster is reborn from the grave.
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