Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I need a licence?

Under legislation passed in late 2006, you no longer need permission, under limited circumstances, to make a copy of a CD or a digital download that you own for your private and domestic use for use on a different device.

Unless the private copying exception or one of the other very limited exceptions in the Copyright Act apply, you are unable to make copies of recordings without first obtaining a licence from the copyright owner.

If you wish to reproduce (copy) any sound recording you will need to contact either the copyright owner, often the record company or label that released the sound recording for each separate sound recording. In some limited commercial circumstances ARIA (Australian Record Industry Association Ltd) may be able to provide a reproduction licence.

What sort of sound recording reproductions is ARIA able to license?

ARIA currently licenses reproductions of its members' sound recordings for the following types of activities:

  • Use in jukeboxes/computerised music systems supplied to pubs, clubs, and for dance parties;
  • Use by commercial premises including in store play at retailers, cafés, restaurants and pubs (e.g. background music compilations, computerised music systems);
  • Use on aircraft as in-flight audio programs;
  • Supply to operators of aerobic exercise clubs or classes, studios and gymnasiums, or aerobics instructors;
  • Use of sound recordings in non-dramatic productions such as sports,lifestyle and reality television programs - not theme music or any type of promotion or advertisement;
  • Supply to dance instructors and dance teachers, including line dance instructors. This licence is not applicable to teachers putting together a compilation to provide to students for practice in their own time. Please refer to the joint AMCOS/ARIA Dance Schools licence administered by AMCOS for further information
  • Use as 'Music on Hold' by commercial outlets;
  • Use in music therapy (i.e. music used in conjunction with the supply of non-music services) for members of the Australian Music Therapy Association Inc;
  • A DJ wanting to put sound recordings on to a single source (e.g: computer hardware) for ease of use, and as a back-up in case originals get lost or stolen.

What sort of sound recording reproductions is ARIA unable to license?

The record companies represented by ARIA's licence have not given us permission to issue licences in all instances. Where ARIA cannot provide a licence, you will need to contact the copyright owner (often the relevant record company or label) directly for permission.

We DO NOT license reproductions in the following circumstances:

  • Anyone wanting to put together a product/compilation for sale to the public (this includes all retail stores, market stalls, etc);
  • Any compilation product to be created for branding, promotional or training use;
  • A DJ or any other person wishing to use a sample of a commercially released sound recording in their mix or any person wanting to create mix-tapes or remixes;
  • The reproduction of sound recordings for use in a film, DVD or video;
  • The use of sound recordings for theme music, promos or in a dramatic context in television productions;
  • The reproduction of sound recordings for use in any advertisements or commercials;
  • The reproduction of sound recordings for use as "walking on" or "walking off" music at seminars or conferences;
  • Music for use at wedding ceremonies or other public events;
  • Any person wanting to make a "back-up" copy of their album, CD or cassette;
  • Any person wishing to make a copy of a sound recording for a friend;
  • Any person wanting to set up a business where the customer details which sound recording they would like on a CD and the business puts the required sound recordings onto a CD and sells the product to the customer. This is considered the retail sale of a compilation CD;
  • Any person who wants to set up a business where they convert sound recordings into another format for customers (e.g. converting vinyl records into CD format for customers;
  • ALL reproductions of sound recordings downloaded from unauthorised internet sites;
  • Podcasts or other online uses.

Can I go direct to record companies and labels for a licence?


ARIA's rights to grant reproduction licences for sound recordings and /or music video clips are non-exclusive. Licence applicants are entitled to negotiate directly with any or all of ARIA's record company members to obtain a licence to reproduce / re-record / dub sound recordings or music video clips.

How does ARIA distribute the licence fees it collects?

Licence fees generated from ARIA licences are collected and then distributed to the ARIA Licensors based on the reports that our licensees supply.

We require licensees to provide us with information in the form of reports which include for example, information relating to artist, track title, record label and record company, and the number of times that each sound recording or music video has been reproduced, so that we can distribute the share of the licence fees to the respective ARIA Licensors.

ARIA retains a commission to cover the administrative, operational and legal costs of administering the licences.

When should I apply for a licence?

To avoid infringing copyright a licence should be obtained in advance of undertaking the reproduction of any sound recordings or music videos.

I already have an AMCOS licence - why do I also need a sound recording licence from ARIA or the copyright owner?

There are at least two (2) copyrights in any recording:

  • The copyright in the written song, composition or lyrics (i.e. the "musical work" in copyright language). AMCOS only grants licences to reproduce the musical work;
  • The copyright in the recorded version of the musical work, i.e. the "sound recording". ARIA grants licences for the reproduction of the sound recording, where it is authorised to do so, and distributes the fees it collects among individual sound recording copyright holders (usually the record company/label);

The practical effect of this distinction is that the reproduction of a sound recording usually requires two licences - one from AMCOS and one from either ARIA or the sound recording copyright owner. If you have only one licence with AMCOS and you are reproducing sound recordings you are likely to be infringing copyright.

Do I require an ARIA licence if I am only reproducing sound recordings by overseas artists?

Yes, licences will be required in respect of all copyright protected recordings.

International copyright regulations extend copyright protection to recordings and music videos of overseas artists as well. ARIA's blanket licence covers both domestic and international repertoire.

What are my reporting obligations under an ARIA licence?

At the end of each financial quarter licensees will be required to provide ARIA with various reports including revenue reports and recordings reports. This includes a summary of all reproductions of sound recordings during the period, including track information, (i.e. artist, title, record label/company) and the number of reproductions.

Is there an application fee or advance that I will be required to pay?

There is no "application fee". However, licensees will typically be required to pay an advance on estimated quarterly licence fees.

What recordings can I reproduce if I enter into an ARIA licence?

You will only be entitled to reproduce sound recordings that are owned by our participating members and their respective labels. View the current list of record companies and record labels that participate in our ARIA licensing program HERE.

Please note that there are certain sound recordings that are specifically excluded from the ARIA licences.

Can I mix, remix or segue any sound recordings under an ARIA licence?

No, you are not permitted to mix, remix or segue any sound recording under the ARIA licence. ARIA is only able to licence you the right to reproduce a sound recording in its original state and not the right to alter it in any way.

You will need to seek the consent of the record company from whom the rights in the relevant sound recording derive before remixing or otherwise altering any sound recordings.

What other licences do I need in addition to an ARIA reproduction licence?

If you are making reproductions of sound recordings you will also need to contact AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Ltd) at first instance, to obtain information in relation to the licences required for the reproduction of the musical works.

A licence for the right to reproduce (copy) does not cover the "public performance" rights (ie. the rights to play a sound recording in public). A separate licence will be required if the recordings are to be played "in public". Such licences are available from PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Ltd), or the relevant copyright owners (usually the record companies)

You will also need to contact APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association Ltd). APRA represents publishers and composers in relation to musical works and is able to issue blanket licences for their public performance.

What is the process to obtain an ARIA licence?

Start off by filling out an ARIA Reproduction Licence Application form. We will review the information you provide on this form and determine whether ARIA is authorised to grant a licence of the type you require. If so, we will send you a proposed licence agreement and advise you of the licence fee payable.

Please be aware your application will be reviewed by our licensing and legal departments and may take several weeks to process.