What is AMCOS?
AMCOS stands for the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society. We are not a publisher or aggregator. We are the sole Mechanical Rights Organisation (MRO) that licenses out musical works to third parties for the Australian and New Zealand territory, and distributes mechanical royalties to writer and publisher members.
AMCOS membership is free to join and remains active throughout your lifetime.
What does AMCOS collect?
AMCOS collects reproduction or “mechanical” royalties. These are generated whenever an original musical work is licensed by a third party and commercially reproduced or sold. This includes CD/DVD/vinyl recordings, digital downloads and streaming. Some common AMCOS licensors typically consist of all major labels, non-major labels and digital service providers (DSPs) such as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, plus others. AMCOS also collects print mechanicals which are generated from the Schools Photocopying Distribution (SPD) and Schools Audio-Visual licences.
AMCOS does not charge fees to join but minimal commission costs are deducted from the royalties prior to being distributed to members.
How can I be eligible for AMCOS writer membership?
A writer must:
- also join up to APRA in order to join AMCOS (i.e. fulfil the eligibility criteria for APRA as well)
- not already belong to an overseas mechanical rights organisation
- have at least one original work commercially reproduced by a party in some way
What if I’m currently published?
If you are a published writer, the necessity to join AMCOS is dependent upon what kind of publishing agreement you have. If your agreement is Specific Works only (i.e. it does not cover your entire catalogue) or is specific to a certain territory only (e.g. it only covers local mechanicals in Australia and New Zealand) and you have not signed any direct-pay mechanical agreement elsewhere, then it may be a good idea for you to join up to AMCOS so that you are covered for the world for ALL of your works.
However if your publisher is already an AMCOS member and you have a General Catalogue agreement covering all of your works for the world then you do not need to join AMCOS at this stage.
It’s important to note that AMCOS writer membership never clashes with any existing publishing agreement. Your publishing agreement will take precedence and AMCOS will cover you for anything else outside of your publishing agreement.
I don’t know if I’m published. How can I check?
See this page (http://apraamcos.com.au/music-creators/music-publishing/what-is-a-music-publisher/) for further information on what a music publisher is.
Does AMCOS act as my publisher?
No. See this page (http://apraamcos.com.au/music-creators/music-publishing/what-is-a-music-publisher/) for further information on what a music publisher is.
How can I join AMCOS?
Writers wanting to join both APRA and AMCOS and have confirmed they are eligible can fill out the APRA and AMCOS online application simultaneously.
Fill out the form here: https://apraamcos.com.au/join
In the Performances section, for step 9 tick at least one box relating to mechanical reproductions, e.g. is available on the internet on a streaming service, for sale as a digital download, or has been released on a CD/DVD/vinyl for retail sale. You will then be required to provide reproduction details and complete the AMCOS Mechanical Right Grant of Authority and the AMCOS Exclusive Licence Agreement.
What if I’m already an existing member of APRA? How can I join AMCOS?
Existing APRA writer members will follow the same procedure as listed above in Q7. You will enter in your information again such as contacts, financial and work details. Then you need to also provide reproduction details and complete the AMCOS Mechanical Right Grant of Authority and the AMCOS Exclusive Licence Agreement.
Once we receive your new APRA and AMCOS application we will merge your AMCOS details with your existing APRA profile so you will retain the same membership details as before, i.e. your member number, IPI and password. Your existing registered works with APRA will also automatically now be registered with AMCOS.
What are opt outs?
AMCOS membership is flexible and offers writers to opt in or out of specific licensing areas. These licensing areas include: Audio and audio-visual recordings (majors), Audio and audio-visual recordings (non-majors), Ringtones, Digital Downloads, and so on. If your works generate mechanical royalties in any of these licensing areas and you choose to “opt out” of any one of these areas it will then be your own responsibility to collect these mechanical royalties yourself – which can be difficult to achieve for a writer who is unpublished.
We generally advise writers to opt in to all AMCOS licensing areas in the first instance to ensure you are covered for all mechanical collection. You can always change your options later on.
What about overseas royalties?
AMCOS has reciprocal agreements with the all the major MROs worldwide including territories for USA, UK, Canada, etc. They do the mechanical licensing in their respective territories, collect the mechanical royalties on our writer’s behalf, and distribute it to AMCOS. AMCOS then pays the mechanicals to our writer member directly.
Again we generally advise writers to opt in for AMCOS to collect your overseas mechanicals. The alternative – to collect it yourself – can be difficult to achieve for unpublished writers.
Does AMCOS collect my synchronization (sync) royalties?
Yes – provided you are an existing writer member of AMCOS and the work in question is currently registered in our database. If you already have the work registered with APRA and you are not yet a member of AMCOS you can simply fill out an online AMCOS application form here (https://apraamcos.com.au/join). Once your application is processed we will attach AMCOS membership to all of your existing registered works with APRA.
If you know your work is already registered with APRA, you’ve now submitted your AMCOS application, and you would like AMCOS to administer your sync agreement rather than doing it yourself, feel free to send an email to email@example.com with the details and a Writer Services representative will get back to you.
Will AMCOS collect my mechanical royalties retrospectively?
It depends on when the release was and whether there was a mechanical licence taken out by the third party administering the reproductions.
For example if you had a CD album released last year through Universal Music, you are unpublished and were not a member of AMCOS at the time, it’s likely there was a mechanical licence issued for this release. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can investigate this further for you. If you’re not sure about your specific situation you can send your query via email to email@example.com and we can advise you.
Does AMCOS collect royalties from digital aggregators?
No. AMCOS does not have any current licensing agreements in place with aggregators. The role of an aggregator is to act as the “middleman” where for a join-up fee, they will upload your music onto all the major DSPs such as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc. The aggregators will pay the account-holder directly for any sales amounts. Separately on top of each sale a mechanical royalty is generated. These mechanical royalties are withheld by the DSP (who hold the licence) and depending if the DSP is local or overseas, the mechanicals get paid to a MRO for their respective territory then on-paid to the writers.
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