General Pilates Education

A Guide to Playing Music in Your Pilates Classes


So you’ve completed your Pilates training but want some catchy tunes to play in class? This article will look at some common questions that you may be wondering about playing music in your classes.


The Pros and Cons of Playing Music

✔ Music can create more of an upbeat vibe in your classes

✔ Music with a good beat can help clients to push through their remaining reps, helping them to achieve better results

✖ Music can make it harder to hear the instructor and it can be hard to please all clients with one music style!

✖ It can take a lot of time to source new music and it can be costly


General Tips if you do Decide to Play Music

✔  Music without lyrics can make it easier for clients to hear you, the instructor!

✔ Music with a higher BPM (beats per minute) will create more of an uplifting vibe or energy (ie. anything over 110 BPM will be energising)

✔ If you are purchasing a music license, be sure to purchase one which covers you playing music in Australia (don’t waste your time on overseas suppliers as they most likely won’t include an Australian license!)


An Introduction to Music Licensing

Essentially, music licensing was developed to protect the owners of music (the singers, songwriters etc). When you purchase music on iTunes or Google Play, you are purchasing a private license. This allows you to play the music for personal use only. Similarly, when you stream music through services like Spotify, you are agreeing to their terms and agreeing to only stream the music for personal use (unless you purchase an additional license).

It is important to note that just buying music on iTunes or signing up to Spotify does not allow you to play this music in a public arena or in a commercial setting where you are taking money for a service.

If you would like to play music in a public arena, it is important to purchase a “public performance license.” If you are playing music in public without a license, you are technically breaking the law and there can be hefty fines which can come with this.

There are two types of music licenses in Australia – APRA AMCOS and PPCA. As of July 2020, PPCA is not providing new licenses themselves, but are directing fitness instructors to One Music Australia to purchase these licenses.


Music Licenses for Pilates/Fitness Classes

If you want to play commercial music in your Pilates classes (ie. popular music that you might hear on the radio), you most likely need both an APRA AMCOS and a PPCA license. In some rare cases you may only need the APRA AMCOS license, but it’s best to protect yourself and have both.

For example –

  • If you want to play Spotify music in your Pilates classes, you most likely need both an APRA AMCOS and a PPCA license
  • If you want to play music purchased through iTunes or Google Play in your Pilates classes, you most likely need both an APRA AMCOS and a PPCA license

When you purchase a fitness class music license through One Music, you receive both the APRA AMCOS and PPCA license packaged together.


Types of Music You Don’t Need a License For

Most forms of music would require a license to play in a Pilates class, however there are some exceptions.

Royalty Free Music

You can purchase “royalty free” music online through various websites. This is non-commercial music (ie. not music that you would hear on the radio). You do not need a license to play this music in your Pilates classes.

PPCA Free Music

You can also find “PPCA free” music online. If choosing this music, you often still need an APRA AMCOS license to play the music, but don’t need the PPCA license. You can purchase an APRA AMCOS license through One Music Australia.

Third Party Music Suppliers

You may also find some third party music suppliers online who pay for the One Music Australia license themselves so you don’t have to. This would be for non-commercial music and assuming the third party supplier had their own license, you would not need to purchase an additional license yourself to play the music.


Check if Your Class Venue Has a License Which Covers You to Play Music

Depending on where you instruct, the venue may already have a license which covers you to play music. For example, if you are an employee of a gym or Pilates studio, their music license may cover you to play music. The gym or Pilates studio would be paying a license which covers x number of classes per year and they may have factored your classes into that license, so it is best to check with the venue directly. In situations where you are hiring out a room or space in a gym, it is likely that you would need your own license. If you own your own Pilates studio and wish to play commercial music, you would need your own license.


Cost of a Music License

The cost of a music license depends on how many classes you run throughout a year and how many people are in the classes (averaged out over a week for the period of a year).


Got More Questions?

For more information on music licenses for Pilates and fitness classes, please contact One Music Australia on 1300 162 162 or



One Music Australia (2020), “Fitness, Exercise and Wellbeing”

Fitness Australia (2017), “Tunes, Tracks, Tempo, Tone – We’re Hearing You”

Fitness Australia (2014), “Life After the PPCA challenge”

Fitness Network (2010), “One Word to Describe the Reality of Teaching with PPCA Free Music – Fine!”

Fitness Network (2013), “What is Your Group Ex Music Policy in 2013 – PPCA-Free or Original Artist?”

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