Australia's competition watchdog has proposed some sweeping changes to the way the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) licenses music rights.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants APRA to streamline its royalty processes to better enable composers to deal directly with music users, and has invited feedback on its plans.

"APRA offers composers and music users significant benefits by providing users with a one-stop shop for licenses to play music and ensuring songwriters are rewarded for their efforts through royalties," said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel in a statement.

"However, APRA is also a monopoly - with the power to price accordingly - and has rules that appear to unreasonably restrict direct dealing between composers and music users."

The ACCC has proposed to re-authorize APRA's arrangements subject to a number of conditions. Key among its conditions is the Commission's ambition for an easier path to permission for those APRA members who want to negotiate licenses directly with some users.

Samuel added, "Where competition can be injected into the acquisition and supply of performing rights in a way that does not jeopardize the other benefits or efficiencies APRA's arrangements produce, then this should be encouraged."

At deadline, executives at APRA were still digesting the Commission's draft determination. APRA has until March 1 to provide its comments to the ACCC. "We would prefer to wait until the final determination is issued before commenting," an APRA spokesman says.

The ACCC has placed a Feb. 26 deadline on submissions from interested parties.