Socan Awards

Dallas Green, Randy Bachman and Born to be Wild songwriter, Mars Bonfire at the 2015 SOCAN Awards.

Barry Roden

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) has long presented No.1 plaques to songwriters and publishers with No. 1 songs in the country.  As the year winds down, the performing rights organization handed out the last round of awards to publishers for hits generated by Nicki Minaj, Arcade Fire, The Weeknd, Scott Helman, Nick Jonas and Serena Ryder.

But the awards were just icing on the cake to the business motivation.

“Actually the awards are incidental to the purpose of the meetings,” Michael McCarty, SOCAN’s chief membership and business development officer, tells Billboard. “They are annual meetings with the publishing community to talk about SOCAN’s business from a publisher-centric point of view.

“We update them on financial results and forecasts, royalty trends, new licensees, etcetera. It’s also a forum to discuss various administration issues, and let them know about progress on items raised in previous meetings. Not many, if any other PROs, have this kind of a feedback loop with their members/clients/customers. It works really well -- it keeps SOCAN on the leading edge.”

At the receptions, held Dec. 1 at SOCAN’s head office, major music publishers Ole, EMI Music Publishing Canada, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing received their awards for No. 1 songs written by SOCAN-represented writers, including Drake (Nicki Minaj’s “Truffle Butter”), members of Arcade Fire (“We Exist”), and The Weeknd (“The Hills”). On Dec. 3, for independent music publishers, No. 1 awards were presented to Cymba Music, and Bloc Notes Music Publishing Inc, for Serena Ryder’s “Together We Are One.”

“When a writer member receives a No. 1 award, the SOCAN publisher (if any) does as well,” says McCarty. “Sometimes they are unable to be present at the presentation, so we save them up for this meeting.