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Distribution information guide: Places of worship

This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from churches are paid out as royalties.

Where does the money come from?

APRA AMCOS collects licence fees from Australian and New Zealand places of worship for the public performance of music at functions as well as during activities such as youth groups, study groups and socials, etc. APRA AMCOS does not require a licence to be obtained for worship or divine services.

What information does APRA AMCOS use to determine who should be paid?

Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) provides music use data to us that they collect from churches and we use that data for our Australian royalty distributions. We have determined that there is a strong correlation between the music used by the churches and reported to CCLI and the music performed under the terms of the APRA Places of Worship licence scheme.

Because New Zealand licence fees from churches are comparatively low, we use analogous data from radio airplay (commercial and student radio) and from music streaming services to make the New Zealand distribution.

To recognise that some live performances happen in Places of Worship, we also use reports submitted by APRA members detailing the songs they (or in the case of publishers, their local or international writers) have performed live (Performance Reports).

How are songs matched to the data APRA AMCOS receives?

The reports from CCLI, APRA AMCOS member submitted ‘Performance Reports’ and New Zealand radio reports, and data from music streaming services are directly matched to the vast repertoire of songs in our database.

Key terms used in our Distribution Rules and Practices document

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.

Royalties are distributed via distribution pools (or by copying datasets) that are most similar in terms of a licensee’s music content. This method is used when Direct Allocation or Sample reporting is impractical.

Performance Reports:
An online form submitted to APRA AMCOS by members who perform their original songs live. The form details performances in Australia and New Zealand that were not a promoted concert (large scale promoted concert/festival/event).