Legal or Illegal Music?

2014-09-03 08.49.52

I had an interesting discussion with an National Speakers Association member recently regarding music in presentations and recordings.

As someone who uses a lot of music in hosting conferences, during presentations and on recorded product I have delved into this situation. It is important to realise that there is a significant distinction between music in presentations and music on your recordings.

They are 2 completely different areas so let me address them separately.

*** PLEASE NOTE: I am not a lawyer, this is not advice, this is just me recounting my experiences in this matter as it relates to Australia ***

(Phew, my backside is now covered!!)


This is the easy one!
The simple message is Get A License! They are about $130 a year. You get it through the Australia Peforming Rights Association (APRA)
You can contact them here or 1300 852 388.

Basically, this enables you to play any music you want at your presentations without breaching copyright. I also use this as a selling point to my clients. I let them know that I have an APRA license that will cover the copyright for their conference when I am hosting it.

Now most venues will have the licensing as well but it is another selling point for me.

The license DOES NOT cover you for any music you may have on a recording. For example, if you have a music intro as you come on stage and you are recording this program for future sale, you are not able to use this music with out paying further rights.

Let’s chat about that now



You can easily license music for any recording that you do. Again, contact APRA and AMCOS. The fee you will pay will depend on the music you have, how many units you are producing and how much you are charging for the product

NOTE Even if your product is a give away there MAY still be a fee so don’t think just because there is no money changing hands that you don’t need to pay a royalty.

The easiest thing to do is use Royalty Free music on any of your products. Your sound technician or video editor will most likely have a library of it. There are some public domain pieces out there but then you may run into issues of other people using the same music as you.

If you are super funky, and this is by far my most favoured solution, get your muso friends to write you a piece of music that us uniquely yours!!  Make sure you pay them for it though!