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Become an APRA AMCOS member – it’s free

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A band is performing my songs. Can they do this without my permission?

Yes, in most cases they can.

The venue in which the band plays must hold a OneMusic licence if they will be playing our members' music. It's not the band's responsibility to obtain a licence to play. A OneMusic licence gives the venue a blanket licence to authorise the performance of all OneMusic New Zealand's music (which is the vast majority of commercially available music from around the world).

How do I copyright and register my works?

Copyright and registration are two separate things.

Copyright is free and automatic.

That's right—you don’t have to do anything to ‘get’ copyright; it's there from the moment you write down or record the song. So as soon as you create a new song or piece of music, you have copyright in it.

Register works with APRA AMCOS.

To ensure you receive royalties when your work is played or performed, you must register your songs and compositions through the Writer Portal or App.

How do I copyright my songs?

Good news! Copyright for your original music is free and automatic as soon as it's written down or recorded in some way. APRA AMCOS acts as a link between those who create and own this copyright material, and those who want to use it.

How do I join my band up to APRA AMCOS?

The copyright in a song is owned by the individual who wrote the song. For this reason, only individual songwriters can join APRA AMCOS. A band cannot sign up as a single entity. If all of your band members write songs or collaborate to write songs, then all band members can individually join APRA AMCOS as members.

If you are in a band, when you complete your APRA AMCOS membership application, make sure you tell us your band/performer name.

When registering works that have been co-written, you'll need to tell us the names of the other writers and the ownership percentage splits for each of the writers. It's important that all songwriters within the band agree on the percentage splits for each work before registering the work with APRA AMCOS, otherwise this can lead to problems down the track when royalties may become payable for that work.

Each song co-written by the band only needs to be registered with APRA AMCOS once. The band should agree on who will take responsibility for registering each work and providing the songwriter and ownership split details. If more than one writer registers the song and there are differences in the details provided, this can make it harder for us to track the use your music and pay royalties correctly.

Only the musical work copyright owners (ie the songwriters and the music publisher if applicable) should be credited in the APRA AMCOS registration.

How do I update my membership details?

Head to the Writer Portal to update personal information like bank account, email, or phone number. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] with your new details.

Some details, such as a change of legal name, can only be amended via email.

I have a dispute with a co-writer over a work. Can APRA AMCOS help me resolve this?

When working with co-writers, it is best to have a clear written agreement that states the nature of your collaboration. See our guide for working with co-writers here.

Disputes over royalty entitlements are expensive, time consuming and often left unresolved.

APRA AMCOS is concerned about such disputes between its members and has established an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system to assist both Writer and Publisher members. Click here for more info.

I want to make a CD that includes covers of other people's songs. Do I need a licence? What about if I want to make it available on a digital service?

Yes. You will need to obtain an AMCOS licence if you want to make a recording of a song composed by another writer. Find out more in Making Recordings.

Uploading cover versions to digital service provider sites like iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify etc.


If you are recording a cover version of a work and wish to sell it as a digital download on a US-based download service, you are required to take out a licence with the Harry Fox Agency (AMCOS equivalent in the USA). Go to and head to their Songfile Mechanical Licensing tool. In cases where the Harry Fox Agency do not represent the work, you may be able to obtain a compulsory licence via RightsFlow – see and head to the Limelight licensing area.

New Zealand

As long as you've first obtained a manufacturing licence from AMCOS, you can supply your recording to a digital service provider (DSP) such as iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify etc. APRA AMCOS licenses DSPs directly, and so royalties for downloads will be collected by APRA AMCOS on behalf of the rights holders.

I'm in a band. How do we split royalties?

Ideally you work it out song by song, as it probably won’t be the same for all songs. You'll need to do this before you register the song with APRA AMCOS.

This is easy, for example, if one person wrote 100% of the lyrics and the other wrote 100% of the music. When you’ve written a song with others, it’s a good idea to have a written agreement that talks about the share of copyright you each take.

Learn more about band agreements and song splits.

Publisher vs AMCOS

AMCOS has reciprocal agreements with other affiliated societies around the globe – meaning you reproduction royalties are collected worldwide.

Some territories overseas require individuals to set themselves up as a Publisher or use a third-party music service to collect 100% of reproduction royalties, but as an AMCOS member you do not need to do this.

If all your songs or compositions are published, your music publisher will collect your reproduction royalties, and there's no reason to join AMCOS. AMCOS is primarily a royalty collection service and does not play the role of a music publisher. Find out what a music publisher does.

What are Performance Reports?

If you play live at pubs, clubs, cafes, or other live music venues in New Zealand and Australia, you can get royalties for these performances by submitting a Performance Report.

Just tell us what songs you've performed in which venues, and you could be paid for playing your original music live. Please make sure you also tell us about any covers you perform so the original songwriters can get paid too.

You can submit your Performance Reports on-the-go via the APRA AMCOS for Music Creators App or in the Writer Portal. Download the app for free from the Apple App store, or from GooglePlay for Android.

What does a Publisher do?

Music publishers nurture and develop songwriters and composers, and take care of the business aspects of their career. Music publishers make an investment - in terms of money, time and experience - in their writers. They exploit the copyright in the music and songs created by their writers in order to make a return on that investment, and to reward the writers for their creative work.

Find out more about music publishing.

What does APRA AMCOS do?

APRA AMCOS grants licences for the live performance, broadcast, communication, public playing or reproduction of its members’ musical works. APRA AMCOS then distributes the licence fees to its 119,000+ songwriter, composer and music publisher members and affiliated societies worldwide.

APRA AMCOS is the trading name of Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA) and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS).

Learn more about what we do.

What is a cue sheet?

A Cue Sheet is a record of all songs and compositions used in a film, television, streaming or video game production. You can submit cue sheets via the APRA AMCOS Cue Sheet Portal.

Find out more.

What is an ISRC and where can I get one?

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. APRA AMCOS does not issue ISRCs. Recorded Music NZ is the International Standard Recording Code national agency, and it administers ISRCs. For more information about the ISRC system, or to apply for an ISRC for your recordings, please visit Recorded Music NZ.

Please supply all your ISRCs to APRA AMCOS by adding to your works registration details. ISRCs are used by APRA AMCOS to assist in matching work details reported to us by Digital Service Providers for digital download sales. ISRC information therefore assists in maximising the download royalties we can pay to our members.

When do I get paid royalties?

APRA pays domestic royalties every three months and processes overseas royalties monthly.

AMCOS processes royalties quarterly—within 60 days of the end of each calendar quarter, usually just before the 60th day. All amounts over $10 are paid.

Learn more about distributions.

Where does the money from licences go?

For every dollar we collect, about 85 cents goes straight back to songwriters, composers and publishers as royalties. The remainder is used to administer these royalties.

As a music rights management organisation, after costs are covered the rest of the money is distributed (paid) to music creators. Our expense-to-revenue ratio compares very favourably to affiliated organisations providing the same service overseas.

Read our distribution rules and practices.

Who can join AMCOS?

Joining AMCOS is separate from joining APRA. You may want to join AMCOS if you have unpublished works released on a recording for sale to the public or reproduced in a production music recording. You can join AMCOS if:

  • You're a copyright owner of musical works;
  • You don't already belong to an overseas mechanical rights organisation;
  • At least one of your works is unpublished and has been commercially reproduced eg: available on a digital music service like Spotify or Apple Music, released as a physical product by a third party, or reproduced in a production music recording.

Who can join APRA?

If you write or compose your own songs, you may be eligible to join APRA. You'll also need to match one or more of the following criteria:

  • You or someone else performs your songs live OR
  • Your songs are broadcast on radio or TV OR
  • Your songs are available to stream online.

You can't join if you're a member of an overseas Performing Rights Organisation. If you're in a band, only the members who write or compose music need to join.

Join today

Who can join as a publisher?

If you're a music publishing company who represents other writers’ catalogues, you can apply to be a publisher member.

Join as a publisher

Who runs APRA AMCOS?

APRA AMCOS isn't a government body. We're a music rights management organisation run by an executive management team in liaison with a non-executive board of directors. Individual writer members and representatives of publisher members are elected to the board by their respective memberships for renewable three-year terms.

Learn about the APRA AMCOS organisation.

We're here to help

Visit our office

APRA AMCOS National Office
16 Mountain Street
Ultimo NSW 2007

9am – 5pm, weekdays (AEST)
Call: +61 2 9935 7900
Email: [email protected]

Postal address

Locked Bag 5000
Strawberry Hills
NSW 2012

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