The Australian commercial radio industry is calling on Federal politicians to protect it from what it considers an unfair fee hike proposed by multinational record companies, as the industry already pays around $40 million a year in fees, and any increase would threaten the sustainability of local stations.
Commercial radio stations currently pay fees to the Australasian Performing Right Association and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia to play music. The PPCA fee is capped to ensure record labels do not overcharge radio stations for the legislated quota of Australian music they are obligated to play.
Ford Ennals, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio & Audio, said the cap on the PPCA fee ensures the system is fair. “No one argues that Australian musicians should not be paid for their talent and hard work, but commercial radio is already paying a full and fair amount of around $40 million a year in music fees and is a vital promotional platform for Australian artists,” Ennals said. “It would be unfair to force radio stations to pay more to play the Australian music they are legally required to play. Doing so would threaten the sustainability of local radio stations, and the Australian music industry would suffer as a result.”
Ennals claimed the PPCA wants the cap removed so it can increase fees by up to 900% but that there is no way of knowing how much of the existing fee stations pay to PPCA is distributed to the artists. “We believe it could be as little as 10%, while the rest is being pocketed by PPCA’s members who are multinational record companies with combined revenues more than 40 times the size of the entire Australian radio industry,” Ennals said, adding, “If PPCA wants more money in the pockets of Australian musicians, then it should pay them a bigger share of the fees it is already collecting.”
The commercial radio and audio industry supports 6,600 full-time equivalent jobs, with 38% in regional areas. Star 104.5 presenter and musician Gina Jeffreys said she has experienced firsthand how radio promotes, empowers, and lifts Australian music and talent. “I have mentored some incredible Aussie artists over the last 15 years, and I know that being played on commercial radio means more to them than anything else. People who make music do it because they want to be heard,” Jeffreys said.
Triple M’s Matty O, who recently won the ‘Gudinski’ Australian Music Champion Award at the ACRAs, also expressed his support for the radio industry. “Commercial radio airplay not only changes the careers of the artists it plays, but it’s vital in supporting the entire ecosystem of the Australian music industry, which has never needed more backing than right now,” he said.
You can view CRA’s submission to the Senate inquiry can be viewed here.