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IHRSA, Fitness First back Music Licensing Battle

IHRSA, Fitness First back Music Licensing Battle
April 7, 2008

Fitness Australia's ongoing campaign to prevent major increase in licence fees for playing music in group exercise classes has received the backing of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and Fitness First Australia. Together, these two organisations have pledged US $135,000 and are looking for local health clubs to match these funds in the fight to stop the music industry's attempts to raise the tariff charged to clubs.

"This could potentially have very damaging implications for our industry, not just in Australia, but globally," said Tony de Leede, Managing Director of Fitness First Australia and a member of the IHRSA board of directors.

At issue is the way music is valued. The current Fitness Class Tariff in Australia, which is paid to the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), is $0.986 per class with an annual cap of $2,654. The PPCA has been studying how music is valued and is suggesting that the proposed fee either be increased to $31.67 per class with no cap (an average increase of 3,172% per club) or that clubs be charged a rate of $26.08 per member per month.

"Either scenario would devastate the industry, and has serious implications for clubs in other countries since PPCA sister organizations around the world may well decide to restructure their fees in a similar way," said Joe Moore, President of IHRSA, adding that "for the sake of the global industry, we need to stop this issue in Australia."

Fitness Australia is pursuing a strategy to challenge the model that the PPCA is using to value music in health clubs. PPCA has already been successful in increasing fees to the nightclub industry in excess of 1,400%.

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