Using Music Just Got Easier

OneMusic recently introduced an accommodation licence, making it easier for hotels to get permission to use music.


OneMusic recently introduced an accommodation licence, making it easier for hotels to get permission to use music.


From reception areas, gyms and function spaces to lifts, bars and restaurants, music is key for accommodation businesses. It can mask unwanted noise and reduce perceived wait-times in reception, it can set the mood of the restaurant and it can motivate people to train harder in the gym.

Because of the variety of ways that accommodation businesses use music, traditionally hotels have been required to complete up to five different licences to cover the ways that they use music. Thanks to the introduction of OneMusic’s accommodation licence, from June hotels will be able to apply for just one licence that covers all of the ways they use music.

Director of OneMusic Greer Davies says the introduction of the licence simplifies the licensing process for hotel businesses, making it easier for hotels to cover off their obligations under the Copyright Act when using music.

With the variety of ways that hotels use music, the new licence gives accommodation businesses peace of mind that they are covered for the music they use, while significantly simplifying the application process.

In addition to consolidating a number of existing licences, the accommodation licence includes cover for music used in hotels’ function spaces. Hotels can also choose how they structure the functions component of their licence to suit.

“During the consultation process Hotels told us they would like a structure that recognises the variability of function bookings.” Says Ms Davies. “For this reason the licence has been designed in a way that allows hotels to choose either an all-you-can-eat annual licence fee, or a fee per function”.

Because the accommodation licence covers all of the ways that a hotel may use music, the new licence also means that it can be administered by one contact.

“Our experience has been that hotels often have different contacts for the different licences they hold with us” says Ms. Davies. “For example, the F&B manager will have a licence with us for the restaurant, and the facilities manager will have a licence with us for the music in reception and the gym. Often these licences will have different anniversary dates, generating multiple invoices and adding unnecessary complication. With one central contact the new licence makes it much easier for hotels to administer”.

While copyright law protecting the rights of music creators has been in place in New Zealand for over 90 years, some accommodation businesses are still surprised to learn that they need a licence to play music.

“Under the Copyright Act, music creators have exclusive rights to the music they create, and when businesses want to use their music, music creators have the right to be compensated for this use” says Ms. Davies. “With the new accommodation licence, hotels can be sure they are doing the right thing by helping to ensure that music creators are compensated when their music is used”.

OneMusic is a joint initiative between the two organisations that administer music rights in New Zealand, APRA AMCOS - who represent songwriters, composers and music publishers - and Recorded Music NZ - who represent owners of sound recordings (usually recording artists and record labels).

OneMusic (through APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ) have reciprocal agreements with similar organisations around the world, meaning that a OneMusic accommodation licence grants hotels the permission to use virtually all commercially available music from anywhere in the world.

Both APRA and Recorded Music NZ are member organisations, which means that after administration costs all licence fees collected by OneMusic are paid to music creators as royalties.

Public performance royalties is one of the main ways music creators make a living, and enables them to continue making the music that helps hotels hum.

Hotels that hold existing licences with OneMusic will be contacted ahead of the anniversary of their account to migrate them to the new licence, and to ensure that they are covered for all the ways they use music.

For more information or to apply for a licence visit the accommodation page on the OneMusic website.

This story originally appeared in the June/July edition of Hotel Magazine.