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.