Canadian Music Rights Groups Hope to Make 'Quick Progress' on Merger

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The boards of performing rights organization The Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) and the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC) have been meeting to discuss merging their operations and improve the rights management of its members.

"Canada has been one of the two countries where performing rights and reproduction rights are not managed jointly," SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste tells Billboard. "The U.S. is the other one -- but in the U.S. nearly everything is different compared to the rest of the world. 

"But if you look at all the other countries, either for a long time or at least within the past few years, organizations managing those two rights have joined or allied. So it’s a recognition by us and SODRAC that it makes sense to offer the marketplace, both on the rights holder side and on the licensee side, an opportunity to have joint management of those rights."

SOCAN represents nearly 150,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers and more than 130,000 organizations are 'Licensed To Play' music across Canada. SODRAC represents more than 9,000 Canadian authors, composers and publishers of musical works, and is the exclusive representative in Canada of the music repertoire of more than 100 countries or territories. 

According to a press release, combining operations "would reduce operating costs for rights holder members of each organization, and promises to increase efficiencies, leverage licensing relationships, and reduce operating costs, resulting in even more money to go to those who have earned royalties for their music and streamlined licensing for businesses using music."

Baptiste expects to have board approval "within the next few months," but notes that timeline could change. "We are meeting again. It's going to be up to the board of SOCAN and the board of SODRAC to decide, but we hope to make quick progress on this."