Canada's SOCAN Reports Another Record Year With $352 Million in Royalty Collections, 8 Percent Growth

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Toronto, Canada.

In its seventh consecutive "record-setting" year, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) collected $352 million ($265M USD) in total revenue for its fiscal year, ending Dec. 31, 2017, it was announced at its Annual General Meeting in Toronto. The figure is an 8 percent increase over 2016.

This stat comes with a footnote that is "subject to pending decisions of the Copyright Board and the courts and such potential changes are discussed in SOCAN's audited financial statements in accordance with applicable accounting standards." 

The performing rights organization, which represents 150,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, reports a 44 percent increase in revenue from Internet sources to just under $49 million, and a 13 percent increase to $76-million in royalties from countries outside of Canada. A record $295 million was distributed to music creators and publishers.

Nearly $300 million was sent to members. "SOCAN's administration rate is one of the smallest of the world's top-10 performing rights organizations," it declares in the press release.

Other highlights include $49 million from Internet collections, but the PRO points out "while growing with the popularity of music from digital sources, the reality is that because of the dynamics of digital services and the relatively poor discoverability of Canadian content, the average SOCAN creator-member who earned royalties from digital sources collected only a few pennies more than $37 in 2017."

There was also a 48 percent increase in foreign royalties since 2013 -- international radio, television, online, on-stage and other public performance -- some $76-million, which SOCAN reports is an "all-time high and SOCAN members' No. 1 royalty source."

A footnote boasts: SOCAN is one of very few music rights organizations worldwide that returns 100 percent of royalties collected from international sources to its members, with no administration percentage applied.

"We are delighted to deliver to our members a record overall amount of royalties in 2017, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that Canada's music creators and publishers receive what they rightfully have earned and deserve a larger piece of the pie for their extraordinary work," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste in a press statement.

For full financial statements and an overview of 2017, go here.

Additionally, SOCAN, which has been working with the University of Toronto's Department of Computer Science & Innovation Lab, held a "special session" at the AGM with SOCAN vice-president of information technology Janice Scott and adjunct professor of music technology and digital media Catherine Moore.

"The technology leaders discussed the two organizations' exclusive work together, including in artificial intelligence and machine learning, providing a snapshot of technology-driven projects designed to find and match more music performances with even better volume and accuracy," according to the press release.

As previously reported by Billboard, SOCAN recently elected five more women to its board, for the 2018 – 21 term, bringing the count to 8 out of the 18 members.