The Labor Government has since announced a significant investment in music with $35.4 million for an extensive Victorian Music and Community Broadcasting package, $20 million over the next two years for its Always Live program, $7.5 million over four years for Victoria’s new Live Music Performers Fund, $2 million for Support Act and $2 million for songwriting in Victorian high schools.
In NSW a total commitment of $103 million was announced by the new Minns Government. This includes funding to establish a state music development agency Sound NSW and a commitment to double live music venues in the state within the first term of the government.
Local Content & Screen Policy
Throughout the year, APRA AMCOS continued conversations with Government and other music industry stakeholders around the importance of local music content across digital platforms and the potential for reform. APRA AMCOS has continued its work on the development of a combined policy approach regarding radio broadcasts, audio streaming, screen content and digital games.
In the National Cultural Policy ‘Revive’, the Australian Government committed to introducing local screen content requirements on streaming platforms to ensure continued access to local stories and content. The policy stated that:
The Government has committed to take the necessary action so that Australians continue to be able to see and hear quality home-grown content, regardless of which platform they are using. It is important that streaming services invest in key genres, including children’s content, scripted drama and documentaries.
This follows similar moves by other jurisdictions including France and Canada.
APRA AMCOS has been involved in consultations with the Australian Government to design a local content obligation that results in positive, sustainable outcomes for Australian audiences and industry. The Government wants to guarantee and incentivise continued, sustainable investment by SVODs in quality Australian programs - in particular, investment in high-quality locally scripted drama, documentary and children’s programs which are genres that might otherwise not be made.
As part of this, APRA AMCOS is seeking to ensure that local songwriters, composers and music publishers can benefit from this new policy direction. For the Significant Australian Content (SAC) Test for screen incentives, APRA AMCOS’s position is that key music professionals, such as ‘Head of Music’ or ‘Director of Music’ of a production, must be elevated in the hierarchy to a level commensurate with “particularly important” or “very important” tiers, given the opportunity of these positions to generate high-value screen music and return ongoing revenues to the Australian economy long term.
Terms of Trade for screen composers
APRA AMCOS is increasingly concerned about the imbalance in bargaining power between Australian and New Zealand music creators and large digital platforms such as SVODs. There are signs of an emerging global trend where composers and creative contributors are expected to sign away a full suite of their proprietary rights to the commissioning party (generally an SVOD service or production company producing for an SVOD service).
To support a vibrant local screen industry, we have been encouraging Government to turn its attention to the longer-term value of supporting our world-class screen composers and music creators so that the entire screen ecosystem can benefit. To support a vibrant local screen industry, we are urging Government to consider the long-term value of intellectual property arrangements to ensure these valuable assets are not repeatedly lost.
In September 2022, APRA AMCOS made a submission in full support of the Government’s proposal to remake the Broadcasting Services (“Broadcasting Service” Definition – Exclusion) Determination 2019 in order to provide industry with stability while broader reforms to modernise Australia’s media regulatory landscape are underway.
Attorney-General’s Copyright Roundtables
The Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP has invited APRA AMCOS, together with 30 other organisations to participate in a series of Ministerial Roundtables on Copyright to be hosted throughout 2023.
In late February 2023, APRA AMCOS participated in the inaugural Ministerial Roundtable on Copyright which focused on establishing priorities for copyright reform. In June 2023, APRA AMCOS attended the Second Roundtable which covered the topic of potential reforms relating to an orphan works scheme, remote learning and quotation. A high-level summary of each of these roundtables has been published on the Attorney-General’s Department website.
Copyright Enforcement Review
In December 2022, the Attorney-General’s Department announced the commencement of a Copyright Enforcement Review to provide an opportunity for those dealing with copyright enforcement issues in practice to comment on how the current system is working and what could be done to improve it.
In March 2023, APRA AMCOS submitted a substantive response to the Issues Paper in which we expressed support for the proposed ‘small claims’ model for the hearing of copyright infringement claims. Read APRA AMCOS’ full submission in response to the Issues Paper.
Report on the economic impact of tax offsets on the live music industry
During the previous reporting period ending 30 June 2022, APRA AMCOS engaged BIS Oxford Economics to undertake an independent report on how and whether tax incentives for venues and artists would support live music.
The report found that a tax offset would incentivise existing live music venues to host more live performances and enable non-live music venues to host live music performances and support the growth of live music. The report found that a tax offset of this kind would have wider benefits across the tourism and hospitality economy.
We published this report in September 2022 and shared it widely with relevant government departments and other music industry stakeholders. A copy of this report is published on APRA AMCOS’ website. Read the full report (PDF 2MB).