How are the royalties calculated?
For APRA licence fees:
The distribution revenue from airlines is allocated:
- 70% - Audio-visual In-flight Entertainment
- 20% - Audio In-flight Entertainment
- 4% - Background Music
- 6% - Safety videos
For the audio, background music and safety video revenue allocations, a ‘points’ system is used where points are based on the length of the song (duration). We allocate 1 point per 15 seconds of duration for each song up to a 1 minute duration, 12 points for durations between 1 and 6 minutes, and four points per minute if the duration exceeds 6 minutes. This calculation is performed for every song, multiplied by the number of reported uses of that song.
For the audio-visual revenue allocation, a different ‘points’ system is used to allocate royalties, where we allocate 1 point per second of duration for each song in a program/film. The points are then scaled by music use.
Music use scaling
- 1x - Background - the ‘sound score’, often original music that has been composed specifically for a film or TV show
- 1.5x - Theme - music which runs under the opening or closing credits of a film or TV show
- 2x - Featured - music which is audible to the characters on screen and the audience, for example a scene with a radio playing
How points are used to calculate the royalty amount payable for each song
Separately, for audio and audio-visual for each airline that provides electronic reports, the revenue collected from the airline is divided by the total sum of all points which have been calculated, resulting in a $ rate per point for audio and audio-visual per airline. This rate is then multiplied by the number of points given to a song based on the scale above, resulting in the royalty amount payable for that song.
These calculations are performed for every song being paid in the distribution.
Lastly, we then multiply that figure by the number of performances or planes supplied, to calculate the amount payable for a song and pay that amount to the copyright owner(s) of the work. If the copyright owner is not a member of APRA or AMCOS but a member of an affiliated overseas society, we pay the money to that society.
For AMCOS licence fees:
Airlines use curated music playlists from music suppliers, which involve the copying or reproduction of music. AMCOS licenses this use. Unlike APRA, which licenses both the performance of songs and music in audio-visual productions, AMCOS only licenses the reproduction of songs because music synchronised into audio-visual productions occurs under separate licence arrangements. Music suppliers supply us with details of the songs that have been copied so that we can make royalty distributions to the relevant copyright owners. Where AMCOS opts not to require the supplier to provide this information, their royalties are allocated using data provided by other airlines.
How often are royalties paid?
Royalty distributions for Australian and New Zealand airlines (and their music suppliers) are calculated and paid quarterly.
What about songs that cannot be identified or are the subject of a dispute?
View our information guide on Unidentified Songs and Disputes for more information.