AMCOS has agreements with some major record companies, which require them to provide AMCOS with quarterly reports of all physical product sales. AMCOS uses this information to calculate the royalties that should be paid by the record companies that AMCOS holds agreements with to copyright owners. Most royalties are paid to AMCOS members or AMCOS directly, but the record company may have separate arrangements with copyright owners who are not members of AMCOS.
Smaller record companies supply sales information directly to AMCOS in a similar way. AMCOS then calculates the overall AMCOS royalty for the quarter and issues an invoice to the record company. AMCOS will then distribute to those AMCOS members who are the copyright owners of the music.
What information does APRA AMCOS use to determine who should be paid?
Along with sales information, record companies also provide us with the individual track details of each physical product released (often referred to as set lists or prescribed notices).
How are songs matched to the data APRA AMCOS receives?
The track information provided by the record companies is directly matched to the vast repertoire of songs in our database. Where a track on a release has not yet been registered, this information is shared with our publisher members to allow them to register their share of the song.
How are the royalties calculated?
AMCOS’ distribution policy uses a ‘pay per use’ system to pay royalties directly to the copyright owner of the music. Royalties per album are calculated using a percentage of sale price (generally the wholesale price) multiplied by the number of sales according to the terms of the industry-agreed Physical Product Agreement (the royalty calculation, where applicable, considers sales returns and sales retentions). Royalties are then divided equally across the various tracks on the album.
How often are royalties paid?
Distributions for physical product are paid quarterly either by Sony or Universal direct or via AMCOS.
What about songs that cannot be identified or are the subject of a dispute?
Key terms used in our Distribution Rules and Practices document
Songs: 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.