New Mardi Gras won’t place restrictions on what music can be played during the 2008 parade following negotiations with the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia.

Playing copyright music during the parade, party and Fair Day this year will cost the organisation more than $120,000 in licence fees based on claimed attendance figures for 2007.

The organisers of the Victorian Pride March could not afford its $5,720 licensing bill and last month accepted an offer from music label Vinyl Pusher to use its songs exclusively during the parade.

But despite the higher fee of $62,700 for the Sydney parade alone, NMG isn’t forcing float organisers to make similar creative sacrifices.

We have spoken with the PPCA and won’t have any restrictions like the Midsumma model where they just went to one label, New Mardi Gras chair Marcus Bourget told SSO.

In respect to Fair Day and the parade it’s pretty much business as usual.

Mardi Gras Parade floats contribute to the expense with a small fee, ranging from a voluntary $100 for gay and lesbian community groups up to $1,500 for businesses. Many community groups are bristling at the $300 fee to hold a stall at Fair Day.

But the organisation will still have to find almost $60,000 to cover the rise in music licensing fees for dance parties since last year.

I don’t think anyone anticipated it went up quite so much. There’s a huge increase in the amount of licence fees we had to pay with the tariff increased, Bourget said.

While negotiations continue New Mardi Gras can’t release the exact figure charged by the PPCA for the official party, but it is expected to be absorbed by the increase in ticket prices, currently on sale for $150 from Ticketek.

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