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Distribution information guide: Commercial and public radio

This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from commercial and public (Government funded) radio stations are paid out as royalties.

Australian and New Zealand commercial and public radio

Where does the money come from?

APRA AMCOS collects licence fees from all Australian and New Zealand commercial radio stations and Government funded public radio stations for all music broadcasts and for music used in radio advertisements, station IDs, etc.

In Australia there are approximately 260 commercial radio stations and in New Zealand there are approximately 50 stations.

Licence fees from Community and Narrowcaster radio stations are collected and distributed separately (for more information, see separate guides).

What information does APRA AMCOS use to determine who should be paid?

Commercial and public radio stations provide APRA AMCOS with detailed quarterly electronic reports of all the playlist music they broadcast and the number of times each song was broadcast. APRA AMCOS generally does not require those stations to provide music reports for their digital-only radio channels. Stations also provide reports on a sample basis (generally one week a month or quarter according to the size of the station) which contain details about non-playlist music used by the station, for example in station IDs, CSAs, news and weather themes, show intros etc.

Stations do not, however, report on music used in paid advertising and instead we use Music Recognition Technology (MRT) to identify and monitor songs used in advertisements broadcast in most state capitals in Australia, and in Auckland, New Zealand. For advertisements broadcast in regional areas, we rely on Jingle Reporting Forms submitted directly by our members

How are songs matched to the data APRA AMCOS receives?

The songs in the electronic reports we receive from commercial radio stations and MRT services are directly matched to the vast repertoire of songs in our database. We achieve an automatic match rate of approximately 90%, which is supplemented by some additional manual research. This results for each distribution on a rolling basis more than 99% of all songs broadcast on commercial radio stations being matched to our database.

Key terms used in our Distribution Rules and Practices document

The Copyright Act refers to compositions, musical scores in the form of sheet music, broadsheets or other notation as musical works. Lyrics or words to a song are considered literary works. When we refer to songs, we are referring to all the elements of a musical/literary work protected by copyright.

Full census:
the licensee provides complete reports detailing all songs played, broadcast or streamed.

Music Recognition Technology (MRT):
A digital ‘fingerprint’ of each piece of music is created when it is used. This fingerprint is then compared to the digital fingerprints of many millions of musical works housed in a third-party fingerprint database. This database also contains each work’s metadata (that is, the names of writers, performers, recording details etc.) enabling the owners of each matched work to be identified and paid accordingly.

In terms of royalty payments, a jingle refers to any music used in advertisements, including commissioned songs and compositions, general songs and compositions and production music.

Production music:
Production music is recorded music specifically composed for music libraries to be licensed to customers for the synchronisation or dubbing in audio and audiovisual productions. This includes adverts, films, DVDs, TV & radio programs, websites, online games, music on hold and ringtones.