ARIA and PPCA provide submissions in support of the Copyright Legislation Amendment (Fair Pay for Radio Play) Bill 2023
Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) today revealed their submissions supporting the Copyright Legislation Amendment (Fair Pay for Radio Play) Bill 2023, along with an open letter of support from over 500 Australian recording artists including Amy Shark, Dom Dolla, Daryl Braithwaite, Gang of Youths, Hoodoo Gurus, and Tones and I.
The Bill amends the Copyright Act 1968 to remove restrictions limiting the Copyright Tribunal’s ability to determine the amount payable to rights holders in sound recordings. These restrictions are often referred to as caps, or radio caps.
The radio caps were legislated 55 years ago and prevent the recording industry from negotiating a fair rate for sound recording royalties paid by radio. Currently, recording royalties are capped at 1% of commercial radio revenue and 0.005c per head of population for ABC Radio: Australia is the only country in the world with this sort of copyright law, nor does such a cap exist for any other type of copyright in Australia. No other copyright user benefits from a legislated cap including television broadcasters, schools, universities, libraries or small businesses such as nightclubs, gyms, shops, bars or restaurants.
Commercial radio earns around $1 billion in advertising revenue and pays only $4.4 million in copyright fees for the use of sound recordings. Radio has built a successful business model around the use of recordings, yet it pays very little for their use.
ARIA and PPCA CEO, Annabelle Herd, said: “Legislation should not restrict the value of a sound recording, particularly when it puts our local recording artists at a disadvantage in their home market. We are not asking to dictate unreasonable fees; we are simply asking for the right to fairly negotiate a correct rate recognising the work of recording artists.
“Currently, no cap applies to the royalties on an underlying musical work or the song composition meaning songwriters receive market rates, while the performers – like John Farnham, Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia and Jimmy Barnes – have their incomes restricted by a 55-year-old cap. And these are just the artists lucky enough to have achieved household-name status. While this cap exists, Australian recording artists vying to achieve the same level of success, in the most saturated market we have ever seen, are severely disadvantaged.
“Research by IFPI shows 63% of consumers wouldn’t listen to the radio without music. CRA’s recent Connecting Communities: The Economic And Social Contribution Of Commercial Radio And Audio In Australia report acknowledged that 85% of listeners identified music as one of the main content types they consume. Currently recording artists are subsidising a billion dollar industry while many struggle to achieve sustainable careers themselves. In a nation that prides itself on giving everyone a fair go, recording artists deserve fair pay.”
Before the current enquiry, six other independent reviews, enquiries and reports have been conducted that have identified the caps as unnecessarily interfering with the market and recommending their removal.
Submissions from ARIA and PPCA, as well as an open letter from recording artists, are attached.