• Updating your master rights agreement

    Below is the key information for master right holders migrating from legacy input agreements to Recorded Music NZ’s current and most up-to-date form of master rights agreement (first implemented on 1 January 2019).

Recorded Music NZ is a collective management organisation which acts on the authority it has from its registered right holders to negotiate licences with radio, television and other music users, collect revenues for the use of recorded music, and distribute those revenues to registered right holders and recording artists.

The authority that we need to collect and distribute revenues on behalf of right holders is set out in a non-exclusive licence agreement called a Master Rights Agreement. It’s important that the Master Rights Agreement we have in place with right holders is kept up-to-date and consistent so we can licence rights in the most efficient way.

If you are receiving royalties from Recorded Music NZ, you will have already entered into a version of the Master Rights Agreement with us.  However some of these versions are becoming outdated and it’s time for us to update our contractual relationship with those of you who are on prior versions or legacy agreements.

We will shortly be contacting all right holders who are signed up with us via an older form of agreement to let you know what you need to do.

Updating your Master Rights Agreement to this new version does not change the way that distributions to you (or any other right holder) are calculated and paid. All right holders are treated the same under the Recorded Music NZ Distribution Policy.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact memberservices@recordedmusic.co.nz

  • Why do you need to change?

    We issued a new Master Rights Agreement in 2019 after taking into account comments made by Independent Music New Zealand Incorporated (IMNZ), its legal counsel and advisors.

    Most of our members have signed this new form of Master Rights Agreement but some of you have not gotten back to us and remain on versions dating back to 2011.

    Since this time, a lot has changed. It has been almost 10 years since RIANZ was wound up and the activities of PPNZ Music Licensing and RIANZ were brought together under the Recorded Music NZ banner and OneMusic, a joint licensing initiative between Recorded Music NZ and APRA | AMCOS, was established; and huge new streaming platforms and players have emerged in the music industry. There is also now much more certainty and definition established in the digital/online market and around digital rights (including significant direct licensing by Rights Holders in relation to certain rights and streaming services).

    In order to enable us to work efficiently to secure the best licences possible on your behalf and to maximise the income that we distribute to you each year, we need to migrate all of our right holders to up-to-date agreements.

  • What are the key differences from the old Input Agreement?

    The form, structure and language of the new Master Rights Agreement has been updated from that contained in the former Input Agreement to:

    • Reflect the fact that some aspects of the current Input Agreement are now redundant or due for amendment;
    • Ensure consistency of definitions and language; and
    • Allow flexibility for Recorded Music NZ to publish additional statements of rights agreements (Specific Rights Agreements) as new opportunities to blanket licence present themselves or there is a requirement to amend a part of the agreement (without requiring the adoption of an entirely new Master Rights Agreement)

  • What remains the same?

    In order to licence your sound recordings to music users and collect revenues on your behalf, we must have an appropriate agreement in place – this is the case with any right holder (big or small).

    By signing our Master Rights Agreement you are joining thousands of other sound recording right holders in granting us the non-exclusive right to licence certain uses of your recordings and to collect monies on your behalf. The key points to note are that:

    • Your entitlement to remuneration and the basis upon which that is to calculated and distributed to you each year is subject to Recorded Music NZ’s Distribution Policy. Entering into our most up-to-date version of the Master Rights Agreement does not alter this
    • The rights you grant to Recorded Music NZ (i.e. for public performance, broadcast and limited reproduction and communication) relate only to a narrow slice of the rights attaching to any sound recording and all of those other rights remain with you as the right holder (see clause 2.4). For example, no rights are licensed by Recorded Music NZ in relation to the sale of sound recordings (physical or digital) or streaming of music on digital service providers such as Apple Music, Spotify or YouTube
    • The licence granted by you is also done so on a non-exclusive basis and you as the right holder remain free to negotiate with music users individually if you wish to do so
    • The rights granted by you are therefore only those which enable Recorded Music NZ to negotiate collectively on behalf of many thousands of right holders and where it would be too costly or complex for many of you to do so on an individual basis

    Essentially all you need to do as a right holder is:

    • Own and/or have a licence of copyright in the sound recordings that you are licensing to Recorded Music NZ. This means you must have cleared all rights associated with the sound recording (including obtaining an assignment or consent from any and all performers who perform on any sound recording). We require you to confirm and, what is known in legal terms as indemnify, Recorded Music NZ for any breach of this as we are relying on your rights (note Section 8 of Recorded Music’s Distribution Policy); and
    • Provide us with the requested details in relation to your sound recordings so we can track the use of your recordings and make sure you get paid

  • What is in the Master Rights Agreement?

    Part 1 of the up-to-date version of the Master Rights Agreement (Main Agreement) covers aspects of our contractual relationship that will in all likelihood remain constant, including:

    • The terms and definitions that apply to the Main Agreement as well as many of the Specific Rights Agreements, but not necessarily all of them;
    • The key grant of licence to Recorded Music to act on your behalf, including in other areas beyond licensing, such as promotion and advocacy;
    • The requirements of supply of information by you to Recorded Music NZ in respect of your sound recordings and music videos;
    • Your entitlement to remuneration and the basis upon which that is to be calculated and paid to you i.e. in accordance with Recorded Music NZ’s Distribution Policy; and
    • Customary other contractual matters around termination; warranties and indemnities; amendments; limitations of liability and the handling of any unlikely disputes between us

  • What are the Specific Rights covered by the Master Rights Agreement?

    The balance of the Master Rights Agreement currently comprises 10 Specific Rights Agreements covering the licensing categories that Recorded Music NZ currently licences on your behalf with specific and detailed definitions to provide additional clarity. These include:

    • Public Playing or Showing and Limited Reproduction of recorded music: This is to cover all aspects of public performance and certain reproduction licensing. Most licensing to which this Specific Rights Agreement applies is conducted through OneMusic. This includes playing music in retail premises, exercise facilities, churches, councils, workplaces, at dance schools, studios and by dance instructors, in hospitality businesses, at sporting events, by transportation operators and at education facilities. This Specific Rights Agreement also covers off required limited copying (i.e. reproduction) for the purposes of permitting subsequent public performance of music or playlists of music. An example is the grant of licence to music service providers. The licensing which is carried out directly by Recorded Music NZ includes the playing and/or reproducing for the purposes of playing music: (a) in all public areas of a cinema and within the exhibition of cinematograph films at a cinema; (b) at events such as fashion shows, theatre productions and other events using recorded music in a featured or background way; and (c) as part of a quiz programme or a music bingo service
    • Music on-hold: This covers the communication of music on an on-hold telephone service and the creation of playlists for this purpose and is administered by OneMusic.
    • Radio: This covers terrestrial or traditional radio including the two large networked broadcasters, NZME and MediaWorks; smaller commercial operators; student radio; community radio and public radio as well as Low Power FM radio stations
    • Radio New Zealand: This Specific Statement of Rights is required because the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act requires Radio New Zealand to continue to broadcast to all New Zealanders, whether located in New Zealand or anywhere else in the world, in times of an emergency. Therefore, the grant of licence to Radio New Zealand to broadcast sound recordings is to cover all territories in the world if such an event occurs
    • Non-Interactive Webcasting: This covers linear, single or multi-channel, non-interactive, online/digital radio services from a website owned or controlled by the Licensee
    • Television: This covers traditional terrestrial and satellite television including, commercial broadcasters like TVNZ and Three; Maori TV and regional providers
    • Audio and Audiovisual Communication: This includes catch-up TV; streaming video-on-demand services as well as general news and entertainment websites
    • The OneMusic Sub-Licence to APRA AMCOS: This covers the specific right to sub-licence to APRA AMCOS for the purposes of public performance licensing and limited reproduction as detailed above
    • Communication in closed loop environments by airlines: This covers the playing of recorded music by airlines from an aircraft
    • Non-Broadcast Video for Domestic Use: This covers the reproduction and synchronisation of recorded music into any video of a private, personal or family orientated event, for example, weddings

    If new opportunities arise to licence on a blanket/collective basis on your behalf, we will be able to publish a new Specific Rights Agreement which you will be given 20 business days to actively elect to “opt-out” of. If you opt-out, be aware that it may be for the entire relevant category of licensing. More detail would be provided to you at the relevant time. If you do not respond, you will be deemed to accept the terms and conditions of the new Specific Rights Agreement/Statement of Rights. To seek physical execution each time and on an ongoing basis is simply impractical.

  • Can I stay on the Old Input Agreement?

    Recorded Music has over 3,150 individual Master Rights Holders, the majority of whom are on the current and up-to-date version of the Master Rights Agreement. It is crucial for both efficiency and best practice that we have consistency relative to the rights provided by each of you to us to licence, collect and distribute on your behalf.

    You have until 30th June 2024 to migrate onto the current and up-to-date form of Master Rights Agreement. If you have not done so by this time, we may not be able to process your 2023 distribution and make payment to you.

  • How we collect data and calculate & distribute your royalties

    • We negotiate blanket licences with music users – broadcast (Radio and TV), public performance (via OneMusic) and certain online uses
    • We distribute the revenues (minus our costs) to recording artists and right holders, using the data described below
    • Our goal is to maximise returns to recording artists and right holders by getting the best possible price for the licences and operating as efficiently as possible to reduce costs

    We collect a huge amount of data tracking actual usage of sound recordings and (where this is not possible or feasible) we use appropriate ‘proxy data’ (usually radio play) to allocate income and calculate distributions.

    • Radio – We currently source playlists from 60+ radio stations each week, including real-time digital feeds of the sound recordings that the two commercial radio networks broadcast across their stations
    • TV – We use real-time data recognition service BMAT which identifies sound recordings embodied in television programming and advertising
    • Public Performance and other music users – We collect data directly from music service providers who supply content to retail and hospitality licensees, as well as other music users where possible, and we use radio data as a proxy where it’s not possible or cost-effective to process specific-use data

    We use all of this data to calculate the royalties we distribute to recording artists and right holders. Royalties are calculated track-by-track, based on the type of use of recordings, who the music users are, and related audience reach. For example, when it comes to radio, individual recordings are allocated ‘points’ on a scale of 1-9 each time they are played on the radio – with points based on the size of the audience of the radio station on which they’re played. Annual royalty distributions are then calculated based on each and every registered recording’s share of the total number of points allocated for radio play during the year.

    Full details of how our distribution works are set out in our Distribution Policy.