The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has launched a joint music licence scheme to make it easier for retailers to access music in-store and stay on the right side of licensing laws.

The industry body has teamed up with PPCA, a non-profit organisation that provides licences to Australian businesses to play recorded music in public, and APRA AMCOS, the group responsible for the non-profit collection and distribution of songwriting royalties to approximately 87,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members, and around 3,000,000 copyright owners worldwide.

Currently retailers need to take out a range of individual licences with APRA AMCOS and PPCA depending on how they use music in their store.

The ARA Music Licence Scheme is only available to ARA members and will cater to retailers’ musical choices for a flat annual fee.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said this is an opportunity for members to see substantial savings in their music licence fees.

“Music is a big part of our retail experience. Research shows that music, especially recordings by well-known artists, is an important factor in creating the ideal in-store atmosphere for the consumer, encourages longer browsing time and can positively influence the behaviour of customers,” Zimmerman said.

“The ARA Music Licence Scheme, which comes into effect from 1 July 2015, will see a flat annual fee of $550 per store for retail premises under 500 m2 in size. This will allow retailers to use a range of background music devices including radio, television, CDs, smartphones and streaming devices (depending on the streaming provider’s terms), providing access to millions of songs and recordings within the repertoire of APRA AMCOS and PPCA.

“With the ARA representing over 5,000 national and independent retail members across Australia, a simple turnkey solution through their existing membership of the ARA will benefit thousands of small businesses countrywide.”

PPCA general manager Lynne Small said, “We are delighted to partner with the ARA and APRA AMCOS to create this joint licence for ARA members, which will reduce their administration while making available millions of recordings to improve the experience of their clients.”

Another service which aims to make staying on the right side of copyright law easy for retailers is StorePlay, which provides customised playlists to retailers via their iOS device, with royalties and licensing fees included in the monthly subscription fee.