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Distribution information guide: Live music

This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from Live Music, Halls & Functions, Community Groups, Community Bands, Cruise Ships, Eisteddfodau and Music in the Workplace, are paid out as royalties.

Live music, halls & functions, community groups, community bands, cruise ships, eisteddfodau, music in the workplace

Where does the money come from?

APRA AMCOS collects licence fees in Australia and New Zealand for live performances in hotels, pubs, restaurants and other businesses who host live music. In addition, APRA AMCOS has other clients whose licences include the right to perform live music, and all or some of the money from those schemes (see table below) is also included in the Live performance royalty distribution pool. We also include money in the live performance Pool where it was licenced for a concert and the concert value is below $300, or we have been unable to obtain a set list from the concert’s performer for 3 years.

All royalties from the following licence schemes are paid to the live Performance distribution pool:


  • Community Bands
  • Community Groups
  • Eisteddfodau
  • Cruise Ships
  • Halls & Functions
  • Music in Workplace
  • New Zealand

New Zealand

  • Auckland Council
  • Community Bands

A share of royalties from the following licence schemes are paid to the live performance distribution pool:


  • Churches
  • Karaoke in pubs and clubs
  • Nightclub
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • New Zealand

New Zealand

  • Churches
  • Karaoke
  • Nightclubs
  • Schools
  • Sports Codes
  • Uni/Tertiary

The balance of licence fees received are paid to other data sources, including background music, Music Recognition Technology (MRT) and survey data.

For performances that APRA AMCOS directly licenses with a concert or event promoter, see the Concerts, Events and Festivals guidelines.

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

We use reports submitted by APRA AMCOS members detailing the songs they’ve performed live (performance reports) to determine which works share in the distribution of those royalties.

APRA writer members may submit reports on their own (or their band’s) behalf. APRA publisher members and affiliate societies may submit reports for overseas writers that they represent here.

How are songs matched to the data APRA AMCOS receives?

The songs submitted by APRA AMCOS in their performance reports are directly matched to the vast repertoire of songs in our database. Where a song does not exist in our database then members can also submit the songs and register songwriting contributions at the same time that they submit their reports.

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.

Direct Allocation:
Royalties are distributed via comprehensive reporting to ensure that all reported works (subject to any thresholds that may apply) share in the distribution of the corresponding licence fees).

Performance reports:
An online form submitted to APRA AMCOS by members who perform their original songs live. The form details performances in Australia and New Zealand that were not a promoted concert (large scale promoted concert/festival/event).

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.