APRA AMCOS can act as an agent on behalf of music publishers and copyright owners for music used in theatre.  We can help you obtain permission to use music your dramatic performance in cases where music is not specially written for a production.

A Dramatic Context licence is required when music is used in conjunction with ALL elements in either A or B:

A: 1) Acting  2) Costumes  3) Scenic Accessories AND  4) Scripted Dialogue 

B: 1) Acting  2) Costumes  3) Scenic Accessories AND  4) Other Dramatic Effects 

Or as a ballet which is defined as:

C: A choreographic work having a story, plot or abstract idea devised or used for the purpose of interpretation by dancing and/or miming, but does not include country or folk dancing or precision dancing sequences.

Music requested for use in a dramatic context is subject to an approval process prior to licensing and performance.  

A large repertoire of music is available for licensing for a range of theatrical performances.  Not all music is available for theatrical use and there are restricted works (publisher approval required) as advised by our publisher members. This is where APRA AMCOS can assist with your music licensing needs.

Grand Rights

Grand Rights refers to copyright operas, operettas, musicals, revues, ballets, oratorios and large choral works (exceeding 20 minutes) where the music and lyrics  have been written expressly for the production.

APRA AMCOS does not license Grand Right performances. In these cases you will need to apply for a performance licence directly from the Grand Right owner of the work, usually a music publisher or agent. We can assist in identifying the appropriate publisher or agent if required.

How do I apply? 

Dramatic Context applications should be submitted approximately six to eight weeks prior to performance, with three weeks as a minimum. This allows for the music research required to determine copyright ownership, publishing and availability. Music clearances with publishers (if required) can take between six to eight weeks. Adequate time should be allowed in case requests are denied and music needs to be replaced.

To apply, please complete and return the application below directly to theatre@apra.com.au

licence application

APRA AMCOS will confirm the type licence required for your event and advise on music availability within three to five days of receiving your application (there may be slight delays during peak periods).

When all music has been approved for your production, we can then grant a licence agreement to cover the use of music for the performance period as per your application.

How much does it cost? 

Dramatic Context licence fees are based on a percentage of gross box office takings.  This can range between 0.025% to 6% of the box office depending on the amount of music used in a production with a minimum licence fee of $82.50 (inc. GST).



Less than 1%

0.0275% (0.025%+GST)

1omore bulestha2%

0.055% (0.05%+GST)

2% omore bulestha3%

0.11% (0.1%+ GST)

3% omore bulestha5%

0.165% (0.15%+GST)

5omore bulestha10%

0.275% (0.25%+GST)

10% omore but less than 15%

0.55% (0.50%+GST)

15% omore but less tha25%

0.825% (0.75%+GST)
 25% omore but less tha35% 1.10% (1.00%+GST)

35% omore but less tha40%

1.65% (1.50%+GST)

 40% omore but less tha45% 2.20% (2.00%+GST)
 45% omore but less tha50% 2.75% (2.50%+GST)
 50% omore but less tha55% 3.30% (3.00%+GST)
 55% omore but less tha60% 4.40% (4.00%+GST)

60% omore but less tha65%

4.95% (4.50%+GST)

65% omore but less tha70%

5.50% (5.00%+GST)

70% omore but less tha80%

6.05% (5.50%+GST

80% omore

6.60% (6.00%+GST)

For example:

Duration of Musical work(s): 120 seconds
Total Production Duration: 3600 seconds
Music Use Percentage (120 ÷ 3600): 3.33%
Relevant Percentage: 0.165% (0.15%+GST)
Licence Fee = Gross Box Office Takings x 0.15% + GST

*Restricted works approved publisher(s) are charged at a rate determined by the publisher. These are generally based on a percentage of box office takings pro rata (based on Total Production Duration or Total Music Duration).

Need more information?

We’re here to help you, please contact our Theatrical Licensing Team on (03) 9426 5223 or theatre@apra.com.au.

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