The ACCC has decided not to object to the notification lodged by Mood Media Australia Pty Ltd (Mood Media) on behalf of itself and Stingray Group Inc (Stingray Group) to enable them to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of music licence agreements with APRA AMCOS.
Mood Media and Stingray Group supply background music to a range of businesses including restaurants and retailers. Under copyright law, when businesses play music in public, including as background music, they are required to obtain permission from the music owner. The background music supplier also requires the permission of the music owner to supply music to businesses. APRA AMCOS grants blanket licences to businesses and other users, including background music suppliers, so they are able to play music in public without contacting individual music owners for permission. APRA AMCOS distributes the licence fees collected to its songwriter, composer and music publisher members.
The ACCC considers that the arrangements are likely to result in transaction costs savings such as negotiation and contracting costs, and the time taken to negotiate. The ACCC also considers that the arrangements may improve Mood Media and Stingray Group’s ability to have better input into contracts than they would be able to achieve if negotiating with APRA AMCOS on their own.
The ACCC considers it is unlikely these arrangements will reduce competition between Mood Media and Stingray Group in acquiring licences from APRA AMCOS. The ACCC considers that APRA AMCOS has significant market power in negotiating with licensees and this will remain the case if Mood Media and Stingray Group negotiate together. As such, it is very unlikely the arrangements will enable Mood Media and Stingray Group to artificially depress licence fees below the competitive level.
Further, the ACCC considers that the potential for competitive detriment is limited by the fact that the arrangements are voluntary for Mood Media and Stingray Group, as well as for APRA AMCOS and because Mood Media and Stingray Group will continue to compete for customers.
The notification was lodged on 11 February 2019 and ACCC has decided to allow the notification to remain in force until 10 February 2029, unless it is withdrawn or revoked.
Please refer to the ACCC’s Public Register for further information.