The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) is a not for profit copyright collective representing Australian and New Zealander composers, lyricists, and music publishers. The association's head offices are located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, with branch offices in Auckland, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. APRA is a member of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).
APRA was established in 1926 by a number of companies including J. Albert & Son to represent the interests of Australasian music copyright holders. In 1929, commercial radio broadcasters in Sydney and Melbourne paid APRA £7 a week for royalties with music broadcasts limited to 66 hours a week. This arrangement broke down in 1931 with APRA banning the playing of records on air. The Australian Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Stations was established in that year to resolve royalty and copyright related issues and as a result, member broadcasters agreed to pay a fixed sum for broadcasting rights.
With the introduction of the Australian Copyright Act 1968, APRA extended its services to any Australian business with copyright obligations. Demand for the service increased steadily over the following thirty years and by 2005, APRA represented the interests of 28,000 members within Australasia, and about two million creative artists and publishers from elsewhere in the world, and gathered $146 million in royalty payments, of which $127 million was distributed to copyright holders.
Today the Association provides businesses a range of licences to use copyrighted music with APRA monitoring radio and television stations, concert promoters and cinemas in particular. Since 1997, APRA has also represented the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society representing Australasian music publishers.
In 2008 and 2009, APRA supported aggressive new copyright law in New Zealand, including punishment of persons accused but not proven to be infringing copyright. This position was opposed by artists and APRA members.
APRA hosts a number of awards to honour achievements by local songwriters including the APRA Awards, the APRA Classical Music Awards and the Screen Awards, all in Australia. In New Zealand, the annual Silver Scroll is awarded by an anonymous judging panel to the year's best-written song on commercial release. Also awarded are the songs receiving the most airplay in New Zealand and overseas for the year.
For every 2500 dollars that an artist or publisher collects, the artist or publisher is given an extra vote. One-half of the board is made up of publishers and one-half of artists. The Association's constitution can be changed by the membership in a vote on a special resolution if it is passed by 75% of the voting members
APRA takes a full assignment on its members rights. This means all contractual obligations when it comes to the use of its members content will be managed collectively by APRA.