I just joined as an APRA AMCOS writer member, do I need to join as a publisher member as well?

In most cases this is not required. You should only join as a publisher member if you are intending to administer, promote and commercially exploit the work of other writers. In-depth industry knowledge and experience will be expected as well as legal songwriter contracts in place. What you need to join

Do I really need to become a publisher member?

Only if you represent other writers’ catalogues do you need to become a publisher member. If you are a songwriter who only represents your own catalogue you should, however, make sure you’ve joined both APRA and, if you are unpublished, AMCOS as a writer member.

I’m an APRA writer member should I join AMCOS?

It depends! If you have a signed agreement with a music publisher, it is not necessary to join AMCOS as any mechanical royalty distributions from us are paid to you by your publisher, subject to your publishing agreement. However, if you are unpublished and your music is commercially available (e.g. CDs, digital downloads) it may be generating mechanical royalties. To collect these royalties, you can join AMCOS and we will pay you any relevant royalties directly.

I was told overseas that I need to form a publishing company to collect my mechanical royalties. Is this true?

While in some countries forming a publishing company is necessary to collect your mechanical royalties, this is not required in Australia. If you simply represent your own catalogue, then you can market, promote and exploit it without needing to form a publishing company.

I am operating a record label, do I need to apply for publisher membership?

APRA and AMCOS publisher membership is not open to record labels, so your business needs to also be operating as a music publisher in order to be eligible for membership. If not already, you may like the business to join Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) and you should also visit PPCA’s website to see if you are eligible to become a member.

In addition to the application requirements, what else will I need to do?

Once you are an elected Publisher Member you must submit registrations to notify us of:

  • agreements the company has signed with writers or other publishers (publishing and sub-publishing agreements)
  • musical works (titles) in which the publishing company or business has a publishing or sub-publishing interest (by virtue of agreements it has signed).

Agreement and work registrations must be submitted in a timely manner. Publisher members may register agreements and works by registering directly into our Copyright Management System (CMS) database. Publishers who have the software to create CWR files may also submit work registrations in CWR format.

What are the software requirements to run CMS?

CMS allows you to register works/agreements directly into our database. However, please note that CMS can only be installed on a PC running Windows. While CMS will not run on a Mac, some of our Apple users either install some Software required to operate Windows on a Mac such as Boot Camp or Parallels. While many of our smaller publishers purchase a cheap $300 laptop and claim this as a business expense. It is expected that publishers register works and agreements with APRA AMCOS as this as this one of the many responsibilities of a publisher.

I have a publishing company based outside of Australian, New Zealand and/or South Pacific territories i.e., the US—and I would like to join APRA AMCOS as a publisher member. Is it possible for an overseas company to join as a publisher member?

Yes, however, you must have an arm of the company registered with ASIC and operating in Australia, New Zealand and/or a South Pacific Nation. At this point a foreign company cannot be elected as an APRA AMCOS publisher member.

Does APRA AMCOS account to foreign bank accounts for royalty distributions, or do we need a local bank?

APRA AMCOS does not account to foreign bank accounts—you will need a local bank account.

Are there other options for foreign companies seeking to join APRA AMCOS i.e., registering as a foreign company with ASIC?

No, not at this stage.

What is CWR?

Common Works Registration (CWR) is a CISAC standard format for the registration and revision of musical works. To learn more, please see CWR user manual provided by CISAC here

Does APRA AMCOS provide CWR software?

No. Third party music publishing software that produces CWR compliant registration files is available commercially. Vistex is a common third party that publishers use.

Does APRA AMCOS provide CWR technical support?

No. Please contact your representative at the third party company.

Who should use CWR?

Mid to large sized publishers have found that CWR is the most efficient way to register thousands of works with APRA AMCOS on a regular basis. Small publishers are able to manually register works without using CWR.

I have purchased music publishing software which produces CWR compliant registration files from a third party and they assist with my CWR files and acknowledgments. If I have difficulties processing my files and acknowledgments, who should I contact?

Please contact your representative at the third party company.

I’m not quite ready for CWR. What other options do I have for registering my works with APRA AMCOS?

Publisher members may register agreements and works by manually registering directly into our database.

Would you recommend an IT specialist to create my CWR files?

If you are a mid to large sized publisher, companies of that size typically use a third party software with inbuilt CWR capabilities, rather than an IT specialist attempting to build a CWR file by interpreting the CISAC specifications. The reason for this is because interpreting the specifications can be a very time consuming process which may cause data issues in the system. Also, APRA AMCOS cannot answer the numerous questions that IT specialists have regarding the specifications as this is a CISAC created document.

Finally, while APRA AMCOS are currently using CWR version 2.1 Revision 7, there are plans in the future to commence using either version 2.2 or version 3.0 and using third party software will make any changes seamless.

Does APRA AMCOS provide any CWR validator tools?

No, please contact your representative at the third party company regarding validating your CWR files.

Who can I contact regarding questions I have regarding the CISAC CWR Functional Specifications manual?

Visit www.cisac.org/contact/us

Is there any further information you can provide about CWR?

Please have a read of the following documents:
Common Works Registration (CWR) - Frequently Asked Questions
CWR Documents (CISAC)



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