Clubs May See Huge Rise in Music License Fees

May 30, 2008

Group exercise music in Australia may become a luxury. A press release from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) reports that clubs playing music in group exercise classes could face more than a 3,000% increase in licensing fees.

Currently, fitness facilities pay a per-class fee of $0.99 in Australian dollars ($0.91 U.S.); however, the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Ltd. (PPCA) has proposed two options for increasing royalty payments to record labels and artists: a per-class charge of $31.67 AU ($29.16 U.S.); or a charge of $26.08 AU ($24.01 U.S.) per member, per month. In both instances, fitness facilities would be required to absorb the cost. “Either scenario would devastate the industry, and has serious implications for clubs in other countries, since PPCA sister organizations around the world may well decide to restructure their fees in a similar way,” said IHRSA president Joe Moore.

The PPCA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to deliver monies from recording licenses to record labels and Australian artists. According to its website (www.ppca.com.au), the “Fitness Class Tariff” is designed to reward labels and artists for their work. “In PPCA’s view, recorded music is an important aspect of many fitness classes,” states the website. “PPCA believes that the creators of recorded music (the artists and the record labels) should receive a fair and reasonable return for the use of their creative work when their music is played during fitness classes.” Australia’s Copyright Tribunal is currently investigating the topic.

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