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Gold Coast Venues Threaten To Boycott Aussie Music

UPDATE 10/11/17: Aussie licensing body OneMusic has responded to venues’ threats to boycott Aussie music.

A bunch of Gold Coast nightclubs are threatening to turf Aussie artists off their playlists in a bid to protest a “crippling” new royalty fee structure they fear will “wipe out a lot of venues”.

As News Corp reports, the drastic threat would see popular dance spots on the Surfers Paradise Glitter Strip totally boycott Aussie music until the matter is resolved.

The thing that sparked all the drama is a proposal by new entity OneMusic, a conglomerate of royalty collections agencies including the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).

They reportedly want to slap a fixed fee on nightclubs that play recorded music for dancing, charging each venue at a per-person rate based on their capacity, not their actual attendance (meaning a 500-cap venue would be charged a single rate of $2.20 per person for 500 people — or $1100 — per night, even if only 10 punters rocked up to party).

“It is significantly higher than what we are paying now,” Surfers Paradise Licensed Venues Association president Tim Martin tells News Corp, explaining that the changes could see music royalties almost double by a staggering $150,000 per year for a 500-cap venue.

“The worst part is we aim to play 30 per cent Australian music,” he continues, adding that some venues may have to stop trading outside of weekends as a result of the new pricing model.

“They are supposed to be there to support the Australian music industry,” he argues. “Everyone is in panic mode. The fee structure and how they are trying to jam us is going to wipe out a lot of venues.”

In a statement on behalf of OneMusic, APRA head of revenue Richard Mallett says the proposed new licensing fee is part of a bid to create a more simplified approach for businesses to pay for music licences, and would effectively halve the administrative time each venue spent on music licensing.

“OneMusic Australia is being developed to bring a simple, modern solution to music copyright licensing and compliance,” he says, adding that concerned venue owners could make submissions to the proposal before consultation closes on November 26th.

Meanwhile, the Surfers Paradise Licensed Venues Association has called a crisis meeting of Glitter Strip venue bosses for November 14th to discuss their options.

As well as the Aussie music boycott, joint court action by all the affected venues is also reportedly on the cards.

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