FAQs

MUSIC LICENSING - THE BASICS

Why does my business need a music licence?

Under New Zealand law you need permission from music creators to play their music in your business.

This permission is required regardless of how you play music – whether you play the radio, TV, CDs, or use digital music services such as Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube. Simply buying music or paying for a subscription service does not give you the permission you need to play music in a business setting. Your OneMusic licence gives you permission to play essentially all commercially released music from here and around the world.

All businesses that play music, from cafes, bars and nightclubs to retail stores, gyms, hairdressers and pharmacies, need permission from music creators to play their music.

What is a public performance?

A public performance is the playing of music in a business, commercial environment, or any other non-domestic setting. In these settings, even if a performance is given for free, the audience is small or you are playing music to the members of a club or society, this does not exclude it from being a public performance under the Copyright Act (1994).

I have paid for the music I play, so why do I need a licence?

Simply buying music does not provide the rights to use this music in a commercial or public setting. Music is sold for private/domestic use, so any use of this music by a business or organisation is a public performance that requires licensing. This includes music in all forms, from live music, to digital music services, even talkback radio and sports on TV.

How much do music licences cost?

Licence fees take into account how music is used by different types of businesses and organisations, the value it offers, the size of a business and any other relevant factors that may have been raised by the industry groups we meet with regularly. Click here to find the licence for you.

When should I apply for a licence?

Whether you're a new business or an established one, if you're playing music you should apply for your OneMusic licence immediately. 

Is holding a licence a legal requirement?

Yes it is. The Copyright Act clearly establishes these public performance rights. The Copyright Act also outlines the penalties for anyone in breach of the Act.

Does this only happen in New Zealand?

No - similar copyright laws exist around the world and music licensing organisations operate in many other territories around the world.

Where does the money go?

When you hear about music royalties, that’s what we do.

Your OneMusic licence fee is distributed by APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ, who are the companies behind OneMusic. Each organisation has a commitment to their music creators and their own distribution policies.

Every month over 330 million lines of music data is analysed from digital music services, background music suppliers, radio stations, television stations, live performers and more. After minimal administration costs all money collected is paid to our local and international music creators – songwriters, composers, publishers, recording artists and record labels.

Find out more from APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ.

What's the connection between OneMusic, APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ?

OneMusic is a joint licensing initiative between APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ. Previously, businesses have needed a licence from both APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ (previously known as PPNZ Music Licensing) to cover all copyrights in recorded music. Having to apply for two separate licences was both confusing and time consuming for businesses, so OneMusic was created to offer a single music licence covering all the permissions needed for businesses and other organisations to play music in public.

What's the connection between OneMusic New Zealand and OneMusic Australia?

OneMusic New Zealand is a joint licensing initiative between APRA AMCOS New Zealand and Recorded Music New Zealand. OneMusic Australia is a joint licensing initiative between APRA AMCOS Australia and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). PPCA represent record labels and recording artists for the public performance of sound recordings. Learn more about OneMusic Australia here.

What happens if I don't hold a licence?

To be fair to the businesses that hold a OneMusic licence, and to the musicians who created and own the music being played, OneMusic runs a compliance programme. This involves visiting businesses to confirm whether they play our members’ music and if so, following up to ensure an appropriate licence is taken out. Our licensing team provides those using music with all the information they need and are happy to talk through any issues or questions. If a business using our members’ music simply refuses to hold the appropriate licence, legal proceedings are issued to reach a resolution.

I have sold my business or ceased trading - how do I cancel my account?

OneMusic licences are non-transferrable so you’ll need to let us know in writing. If you have sold your business, or if you have ceased trading complete a OneMusic Licence Cancellation Request form.

Is OneMusic a government organisation?

No. OneMusic is a joint licensing initiative between APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ. Both APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ are non-government, member organisations representing owners of music and the recordings of that music. Music and sound recordings are protected under New Zealand law by the Copyright Act (1994). To find out more about each organisation visit APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ.

Who can verify that I need a OneMusic licence?

You can find out more about why you need a licence and the authenticity of our rights from New Zealand associations and other industry and government bodies.

Citizens Advice
       

What is a Music Review?

As part of your licence we may ask you to complete a Music Review. Annual Music Reviews are your opportunity to tell us about your music use for the previous 12 months, and to ensure that the licence fees you pay are in line with the music you use.

Learn more about how Music Reviews work for your industry here.

BACKGROUND MUSIC

What music is covered under OneMusic licences?

Through the membership of APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ and reciprocal agreements with similar organisations around the world, a OneMusic licence grants you the legal permission you need to use essentially all commercially released music from here and around the world - from local indie rock bands to the world's biggest artists. The repertoire is added to daily as new music is created, released and registered. If you have any questions about whether the music you play is covered by your licence please contact us on 0800 800 663.

How do you know what music I play?

It would be unrealistic to expect every business and organisation to provide us with complete playlists of all the music they play. 

When you hear about music royalties, that’s what we do. Every month we analyse over 330 million lines of music data from digital music services, background music suppliers, radio stations, television stations, live performers and more. We match what is being played and distribute to the songwriters, composers, publishers, recording artists and record labels who make and own the music you play your business.

I only play the radio - do I still need a licence?

Yes. Playing music from the radio in a commercial setting is a public performance of that music. 

Radio means an electronic device designed to receive and communicate radio signals from New Zealand radio broadcast stations. If you play exclusively radio only in your business the fee is 50% of the published rate on the licence as radio programming includes competitor advertising, DJs, and music cannot be customised.

Radio includes local and national radio stations (for example The Hits, The Breeze and George FM), however does not include internet radio stations or digital music services e.g. Spotify.

I only play music from other countries such as Thailand, Italy or Mexico. Do I still need a licence?

Through APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ, OneMusic holds reciprocal agreements with similar organisations and rights holders around the world. Royalties are collected for the use of other countries’ music in New Zealand, and they collect royalties for the use of our members’ music in their countries. 

Your OneMusic licence gives you permission to play essentially all commercially released music from anywhere around the world.

What does "premises" area mean, and what does it include?

When calculating the premises area of your business, you should include the area where music is played to the public. For instance, if music is played in toilets or outside areas that are open for use by customers, these areas should be included. However, areas used solely by staff such as storage areas, kitchens, staff rooms and toilets etc do not need to be included in the premises calculation.

How do I measure the premises size?

Square metres are calculated by multiplying the length and the width of your premises area. For instance, if an area is 20 metres wide by 50 metres long it would be 1000 square metres.  If you are pacing out the length and width of the premises area, each long stride will be approximately one metre.

What do I receive from OneMusic?

When you hold a OneMusic licence you receive the legal permission you need to play millions of songs from all corners of the globe. You can be sure your business is complying with copyright law and that music creators are being paid for the use of their work. You also receive a countersigned copy of your licence agreement, and a sticker for your window to show your customers, guests or members know that you support music creators.

LIVE PERFORMERS, BANDS, DJS + KARAOKE (FEATURED MUSIC)

Why don't the DJs and bands that play at my venue hold a licence instead of me?

The person/business authorising a public performance is responsible for holding the public performance licence. While you may hire bands or DJs, it is the pub, club, bar or restaurant that is obliged to hold the licence.

I have bands and DJs on the same night. Do I need to pay two per day rates?

No. If you have a live band and a DJ on the same day, you only have to pay one “per day” rate and this would be the DJ rate. If you have a live band and karaoke on the same night, again only one “per day” rate applies.

What is the definition of a DJ?

A DJ is a performer providing a “real time” programme of music additional to a venue’s regular background music service. A DJ provides recorded music entertainment using equipment such as turntables, CD players, digital music devices.

Why do I need a licence for a band, when I pay the band, and they play originals?

The members of a band performing at your venue might not be the owners of the copyright in the music they perform. For instance, the band might have eight people in it but only two of these band members wrote the music they play. Alternatively, the music may have been co-written by some other person who is not part of the band at all. The OneMusic “live” fee is for the people who wrote and owns that music. These songwriters are members of APRA AMCOS (or similar affiliated international societies) and receive their songwriting royalties via the OneMusic licence fee.

PAYING FOR MY LICENCE

How can I pay for my licence?

There are a few easy ways to pay your OneMusic invoice.

1.

Direct Banking (EFT) to the OneMusic Account:
APRA New Zealand Trading as OneMusic
01-0215-0104480-00
Please use your client number and legal name as Reference when making your payment.
Remittances can be sent to accounts@onemusicnz.com.

2.

You can call us to arrange payment by Credit Card (no transaction fees apply).
Call us 0800 800 663, weekdays 9am - 5pm. 
Payment by Visa and Mastercard only.

3.

We also have Payment Plan options (Direct Debit), available on request. ​

Can I pay my licence quarterly?

If your invoice is $1,000 (excluding GST) or more you can choose to pay quarterly. Please note, the 5% prompt payment discount does not apply to quarterly invoicing. For accounts under this amount we have Payment Plan options, available on request. If for any reason you’re having difficulty paying your invoice, please also contact us on 0800 800 663.

I'm selling my business - can I part-pay?

OneMusic licences are non-transferrable so you’ll need to let us know in writing. If you have sold your business, or if you have ceased trading complete a OneMusic Licence Cancellation Request form.

MORE ABOUT COPYRIGHT

How long does copyright last?

In New Zealand, copyright in musical works continues for 50 years after the end of the calendar year in which the author died. Copyright in sound recordings continues for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the sound recording was made.

Where can I find the Copyright Act (1994)?

You can find a full copy of the Copyright Act (1994) on the New Zealand Legislation website.

I disagree with music licensing, where can I get independent advice?

We recommend that anyone with questions about music licensing should contact their own independent lawyer or other legal advisor. If you are looking for more general advice, most industry trade associations are aware of music licensing requirements for businesses and host information on their websites.

Who can verify that I need a OneMusic licence?

You can find out more about why you need a licence and the authenticity of our rights from New Zealand associations and other industry and government bodies.

Citizens Advice