What is the difference between PPCA & APRA|AMCOS?

APRA|AMCOS - Provides licences covering the copyright in the song (lyrics, composition etc) and represents the interests of composers and publishers

PPCA - Provides licences covering the recording and/or music video of the song (a particular recorded performance), and represents the interests of recording artists and record labels.


When a business wants to broadcast, communicate or publicly perform your recording, they usually require two licences – one from APRA|AMCOS and one from PPCA or each copyright owner (usually the record company).


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Can I register with both PPCA & APRA?

If you perform on recordings you should register with PPCA.  If you write songs you should register with APRA.  As there are two separate rights (one for the song / composition and a separate one for the sound recording) if you are both a songwriter AND a recording artist you can and should register with both organisations, in order to access both income streams. 

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Where does the money go?

At the end of each financial year, PPCA calculates the amount available to be distributed to Australian recording artists (after the deduction of administration costs). This process takes months and these amounts are distributed in December of each year. The funds available for distribution are allocated on a track-by-track basis.

For Australian recordings, after the deduction of 2.5% for allocation to grants for charitable, educational and similar purposes (e.g. PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation), the balance is shared between registered artists and the relevant label. 

Featured artists who register can access their share of 50% of the income allocated to each track. Should an artist (or artists) fail to register, their share - together with the 50% label share - goes directly to the relevant label.

For all other recordings, the funds payable in respect of the relevant track are sent to the controlling record label for distribution to artists in accordance with their individual record company agreements.

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Why is my APRA cheque so much more than my PPCA cheque?

This is a very commonly asked question and there are a number of reasons why PPCA’s collections are substantially lower than those of APRA. These include limitations in the Copyright Act which apply to sound recordings (PPCA), but not to musical works (APRA). These include:

  • A cap on the fees payable by radio broadcasters (including the ABC);
  • The inability to grant licences for unprotected recordings (please see www.ppca.com.au for the complete definition of unprotected recordings); and
  • The inability to grant licences to premises playing only the radio or TV (except music on hold).

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I am an Australian recording artist and also have my own record label. Should I register with the PPCA as a licensor as well?

Yes, because we can only collect and make payments (including artist payments) if we have an agreement with the copyright owner or exclusive licensee of the recording. You need to register as a copyright owner (licensor). This is done by signing what we call an Input Agreement, which is a document under which you authorise PPCA to collect public performance communication and broadcast royalties on your behalf on a non-exclusive basis. More information and registration forms can be found in the Licensors section.

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Does PPCA collect royalties for me when I do live performances in a venue?

No. PPCA collects in relation to sound recordings and music videos only, not live performances.

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Who runs PPCA?

PPCA was founded in 1969 by the major record companies. These companies hold shares but are not entitled to any dividends. The current shareholders are Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music and Warner Music.

The board of PPCA is currently made up of eight directors comprised of the nominated representatives of the three shareholders, three directors representing registered artists (including an artist manager) and two representing the non-shareholding licensors.

The day-to-day management of PPCA is delegated to the chief executive officer who is appointed by the board.

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How does PPCA determine which recordings share in the distributable licence fee income?

PPCA distributions are based on extensive airplay logs from free to air and subscription broadcasters and music video programs supplemented by additional information from major licensees. This data is then matched to our database of sound recordings which retains details of entitled parties. For more information see our Distribution Policy.

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I have only just registered with PPCA as a recording artist. Am I entitled to any PPCA distributions?

Each December, PPCA distributes the entire surplus achieved during the most recent financial year. If the copyright owner authorised PPCA to license on their behalf and you did not lodge a direct artist registration, all of the earnings for relevant tracks would have been passed on to the controlling record label. The distribution statements display all earnings on a track-by-track basis, and clearly indicate whether or not an artist has received a direct distribution. This information is made available to allow the record companies to deal with income as required by individual artist contracts.

If you were not registered and feel there is PPCA income that has not yet been displayed on your statement, you should contact the relevant copyright owner for more information.

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When I register as a recording artist, will I receive payments for previous years?

No. PPCA Distributions are made annually and no funds are held in reserve for artists who haven't registered by the 31 August each year.

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Does PPCA have branches outside Sydney?

No. However, you can contact us at distribution.mail@ppca.com.au or (02) 8569 1133.

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How are the Artist representatives on the PPCA Board selected?

As the number of licensors had grown considerably over recent years, in 2005 the PPCA board and shareholders moved to broaden board representation and provide an opportunity for increased participation by that group.

As a result, since 2006, the PPCA board has included an elected licensor representative. In 2014, the PPCA Board and shareholders made a further change, extending the Board to include two Licensor Directors.

Licensor Directors are appointed on the following terms:

• The Licensor Director must be (and remain during their term) a Managing Director or equivalent of a Financial Licensor, AND an Australian citizen or resident for tax purposes who has not been found liable for copyright infringement or admitted to such an infringement for at least five years prior to the date of the nomination;

• A ‘Financial Licensor’ is a PPCA licensor (excluding a shareholder) that has been allocated at least $1,000 in the most recently completed PPCA distribution, excluding amounts available for payment to featured Australian artists under the Artist Direct Distribution Scheme;

• The term of the appointment will be two years (commencing 1 July), and will be determined by an annual election;

• At each election one Licensee representative will be appointed (ie. staggered two-year terms to ensure the Board always includes an elected Licensor representative with at least one year’s experience at Board level); and

• Each Financial Licensor (excluding shareholders) will be entitled to nominate a candidate from the pool of Financial Licensors, and then lodge a vote for their preferred nominee.

Nomination forms are issued to licensors on or around April 1 each year. All nominees are offered the opportunity to provide biographical details, and the list of participating nominees, together with the data provided is available on our website. Ballot papers are then issued to all Financial Licensors.

Be part of the process – lodge a nomination and don’t forget to vote for your board representatives!


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