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Theatrical Performances

Why is Dramatic Context different?

Dramatic Context performances use pre-existing musical works to tell a story (songs or compositions that weren’t written specifically for the show in which they are being performed). If a show meets the Dramatic Context definition a standard ‘blanket licence’ that provides access to all songs in our repertoire is not available.

For regular concerts and non-dramatic performances, we can usually issue a ‘blanket licence’ to perform any or all of our music on behalf of our members (composers and music publishers) and affiliates (societies like ours that operate in other countries, e.g. PRS in the UK).

However, if your show is Dramatic Context, special rules apply because we only act as an agent.

Some music publishers allow us to license Dramatic Context performances, and even then, there are restrictions on works and/or usage. Some other members prefer to license Dramatic Context use of their songs directly to theatrical producers, rather than through us.

APRA AMCOS does not control rights for the use of music in a Dramatic Context and only acts as agent for its members – and then only for some works and for some uses. Arrangements are therefore different to most other licences you may have obtained from us. It is important that you are aware that copyright ownership in a song and/or the position of the songwriter may change from time to time. This means previous approval for the same or a similar show does NOT guarantee that approval will be given again for any new application. Accordingly, APRA AMCOS notes that any financial or other investment in your show, including the booking of venues, ahead of you obtaining a licence for all the works is entirely at your own risk.