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SOCAN Delivers Record Payouts to Members, But Says Streaming Services Could Step It Up

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) announced another “record-setting” year with the release of its 2018 financial numbers, during the performing rights organization’s annual general meeting in Vancouver yesterday (June 18).

Three hundred and seventy-five million Canadian dollars (USD $281M) was collected in total, an increase of 11 percent compared to 2017, $320 million (USD $240M) of that distributed to SOCAN members, which is an 8 percent increase.

SOCAN has almost 160,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists as direct members, and more than 100,000 organizations “licensed to play” music across Canada.

Other financial highlights include a domestic collections increase of 9 percent to $286 million (USD $214.2 M) and outside of Canada of 15 percent to $87 million (USD $65M), “the top revenue stream for SOCAN members,” it states in the press release. Revenue from digital sources was $63 million (USD $47.2M), up 29 percent.

But despite these positive figures, SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste included a word about streaming royalties and the org’s continued efforts to get rights holders fairly compensated.

“The popularity of music streaming continues to increase, but a SOCAN member who received royalties in 2018 on average took in only $54 [CDN] from digital sources,” he said in a press statement. “Digital platforms are reaping massive value on the backs of music creators and publishers. SOCAN will continue to fight for a more equitable and fair compensation for rightsholders as this part of the industry matures.”

At the AGM, according to the press release, Baptiste also recapped some of the recent steps SOCAN has taken to streamline operations and ensure overall ease of collection and licensing for its members, such as acquiring Quebec-based SODRAC, bringing mechanical/reproduction rights and royalties to members; the creation of the portal Entandem, RE:SOUND to allow businesses and governments to more easily license music; and the new one-stop services arm Dataclef.

“SOCAN continues to work to harness artificial intelligence and to offer tools to third-party organizations to build software from its online application programming interface (API) specifications to identify and collect on more public uses of music, returning more royalties with even greater speed and accuracy to those who have rightfully earned them,” the press release on the ATM states.

SOCAN’s 2018 annual report and complete financial statement are available at

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