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Theatrical Performances

Why is Dramatic Context different?

Dramatic Context (DC) performances use pre-existing musical works (songs or compositions that weren’t written specifically for the show in which they are being performed) to tell a dramatic story. If a show meets the Dramatic Context definition a special type of licensing applies.

For regular concerts and non-dramatic performances, APRA AMCOS can usually issue a licence to perform music on behalf of its members (songwriters, composers and music publishers).

However, if your show is Dramatic Context, special rules apply.

Only some songwriters, composers and music publishers allow APRA AMCOS to license Dramatic Context performances, and even then, there are restrictions. Other music publishers prefer to issue Dramatic Context licences directly to theatrical producers, rather than through APRA AMCOS.

APRA AMCOS does not control rights for dramatic context use in our music and only acts as agent for its members. Arrangements are therefore different to most other licences you may have obtained from us. It is important that you are aware that copyright ownership in a song and/or the position of the songwriter may change from time to time. This means previous approval for the same or a similar show does NOT guarantee that approval will be given again for any new application. Accordingly, APRA AMCOS notes that any financial or other investment in your show, including the booking of venues, ahead of you obtaining a licence for all the works is entirely at your own risk.

How do I apply for a Dramatic Context licence?

Complete the application form ideally 6-8 weeks (minimum of 4 weeks) before opening night.

Our staff will research your song list and advise which songs are available for use in your production.

We’ll ask you to confirm your song list, including the duration of each song.

You’ll receive a licence agreement to sign and return.

Apply now