28 June 2018
APRA AMCOS Performance Reports are due: how to claim what is yours
© Aaron Chua
Are you a composer performing your own works? Has your work been performed live by someone else in the last year? If you're an APRA AMCOS member, you earn royalties when your music is performed live. Yes, it's true, you do!
To claim those sweet royalties, you need to submit Performance Reports by 31 July.
As the Art Music Specialist at APRA AMCOS, I can help make the process of claiming the live performance royalty, or as some refer to it, the 'composer's tax return', as straightforward as possible.
We roll out the reminder campaign annually, and it's making a difference. For financial year 2016-17, we paid 16,137 Australian and New Zealand songwriters and composers a live performance royalty, the most ever.
So if you're new to this whole Performance Report business, or could use a bit of a refresher, or just need some major motivation, I've pulled together a handy little primer to get you started. And, please call or email me and we can work through your questions. It's much better to troubleshoot before you submit than after.
Show me the money!
Whenever a live public performance occurs in a venue there should be a licence in place, the royalties you earn are your cut of these licence fees based on where and how often your music was performed. However, we need you to report to us when these performances occur so we can pay you.
The royalty rate does change from year-to-year based on the number of claims. APRA AMCOS paid out $7.2m in live performance royalties to members who submitted Performance Reports for their gigs during the 2016-17 financial year - for Australian composers and songwriters that is $2.63 per song. Compositions of longer duration are duly accounted for and definitely worth the paperwork.
As composer, pianist and 2018 Art Music Fund recipient Anthony Pateras so eloquently put it, 'Those surprise APRA cheques are what helps one survive.'
If you're not already an APRA AMCOS member, you can sign up here - it's free!
Line up your ducks
Paperwork is generally every musician's weakness (or least favourite thing), I know I'd rather be writing music. So, to make it as easy as possible I recommend a little prep before sitting down to lodge performance reports.
1. Register your works
Registering your work with APRA AMCOS should come after the double bar line and before the celebratory glass of wine - but it's easy to miss or forget these things. You can check your works on the APRA AMCOS website if you're not sure. Anything missing? Pop in a registration now (step-by-step guide here).
2. Do your research
Find out where your music was performed in the past financial year (1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018). The Australian Music Centre's Calendar is a great resource for this, as are Google searches and your social networks (most events are listed on websites and social media now, it makes tracking down performances much easier). I like to keep a running spreadsheet throughout the year, but feel free to do a big retrospective of your work now as well.
You'll need to note down the following information:
• Venue name & address
• Performer and/or presenter
• Your works performed
• Country of performance
Send in the forms
1) Local (AU and NZ) performances:
Login to your composer portal and click on the performance report tab, and click 'create a performance report'. Fill in one report per event. First pop in the event information then click 'Add My Works' to add in any of your works which were performed. IMPORTANT: Please make sure the duration is correct - we take duration into account for Art Music Performance Reports.
Then click submit, rinse and repeat (adding celebratory wine to taste).
The cut-off for submission is 5pm AEST Tuesday 31 July and royalties are paid out in mid-late November.
2) Overseas performances:
Unlike local performance reports, overseas performances tend to be based on calendar year, however most of the same information applies.
• UK performances must be reported within 9 months
• US & German performances must be reported by March of the following year
• US performances require a copy of the concert program, and other territories can also request this.
US performances can be submitted here, all other overseas performances go here. These are processed and paid out regularly, noting that payment can take a while - 1-2 years depending on how the distribution schedules line up between us and the overseas society. Check out our Overseas Performance Report tips when you're ready to cross that bridge.
Need a hand?
If you're ever stuck or unsure - please give me a call on 02 9935 7722, I'm in the Sydney office of APRA AMCOS 9:30-5:30pm weekdays and happy to talk you through absolutely anything. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
> More information about Performance Reports (APRA AMCOS). If you have questions about the process, please contact APRA's Art Music Specialist Cameron Lam, whose contact details are immediately above.
© Australian Music Centre (2018) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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