Canadian Rights Org SOCAN Collected $374 Million in 2018

Preliminary figures have been released by The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) for royalties collected and paid out to its members in 2018.

The performing rights org's combined domestic and international collections surpassed 2017 results by at least 11 percent, with $374 million CAD ($283.07 million USD) compared to $338 million ($255.88 million), including about $5 million ($3.78 million) in reproduction rights royalties through the July acquisition of mechanical rights org acquisition SODRAC.

International royalties are estimated to be least $87 million ($65.78 million), an increase of 15 percent over the previous year. Three hundred and fifteen million dollars ($238.53 million) was distributed to SOCAN members, an increase from $295 million ($223.39 million) in 2017. Domestic revenue increased 8 percent from 2017 to $282 million ($213.52 million), a 25 percent increase since 2013.

SOCAN revenue from Internet-based licensed music in 2018 will total approximately $62 million ($47 million), an increase of 27 percent from approximately $49 million ($37.14 million) collected in 2017.

All these numbers will go through an auditing process by KPMG, then be approved next month at a meeting of SOCAN's board of directors, and available to all in June, in concert with SOCAN's annual general meeting.

"The consistently increasing number of Canadian music creators aspiring to make a living from their creative work is similar to the halo effect we see in other industries," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste in a statement. "SOCAN member songwriters and composers like Alessia Cara, Alexandra Stréliski, Drake, Elisapie, Frank Dukes, Hubert Lenoir, Keith Power, Loud, Murda Beatz, Shawn Mendes, Tebey, The Weeknd, and WondaGurl are excelling globally, and they inevitably inspire others to pursue their passion for creating music as a livelihood."

SOCAN has a membership of 160,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists, and more than 100,000 organizations are "licensed to play" music across Canada.

The collection figures are not only due to the international achievement of its members, but to "pioneering technology, unsurpassed search capabilities, improved data-matching, and […] devoted SOCAN International relations, membership, licensing, and distribution teams," according to the PRO.

The organization also reports that royalties from "non-Canadian sources" are the No. 1 revenue stream for its members, a 70 percent five-year increase.

"Of the world's top 10 performing rights collectives, SOCAN is the only one that returns 100 percent of the international royalties it receives from its international partners to its members with no additional management charge applied," it claims in the release.

SOCAN also held 22 song camps and regular in-house collaborative writing workshops in 2018, including in Quebec, British Columbia and Nicaragua.

The PRO says operating expenses remained constant in 2018.