The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), which represents the interests of recording artists and labels, wants commercial gym classes to pay more for its use of recorded music.

The organization has proposed to the Copyright Tribunal a new rate of A$4.54 ($4.11) per month, or $0.99 ($0.89) per casual visit. Currently, a gym pays $0.968 cents ($0.877) per class.

This will not apply to community groups or classes held in schools, church halls or rehabilitation centres.

"There is overwhelming evidence that music in fitness classes provides crucial motivation, improves people's workouts, creates structure for classes and adds atmosphere," comments PPCA chief executive Stephen Peach said in a statement. "All of this means that music plays a key part in attracting regular fee paying members to fitness centres and adds significantly to their bottom line. We are simply seeking a fair return for labels and artists who create the music. That return should be in line with the value that music delivers to this booming sector."

Peach says that the A$1 billion-a-year ($906.7 million) fitness industry in Australia -- which he says has an annual growth rate of 10% to 15%, and on average charge $768 ($696) for annual membership -- could absorb these costs without passing them on to their customers.

There was no immediate response from the commercial fitness industry.

Australia's Copyright Tribunal, which is headed by a Federal Court judge, will gather evidence from all parties through the year. A decision is expected next year.

The PPCA recently won a two-year battle to increase license fees paid by nightclubs from 7 cents (6.34 cents) a patron to $1.05 ($0.95) by 2012.