Canadian Performance Rights Org SOCAN Collected Record $405 Million in 2019

Toronto, Canada
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Toronto, Canada

TORONTO — The Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) again reports record-breaking numbers, issuing preliminary year-end figures for 2019 of an estimated CA$405.5 million (USD $305.38 million) collected, an 8% increase over 2018's $375 million ($282.41 million).

However, one figure is concerning — domestic digital earnings.   

Despite a 38% increase in digital collections — by a little more than $23 million to $86 million — the performing rights organization says its members earned an average of only $67 ($50.47) from domestic digital royalties, an actual increase from 2018, which was a mere $54 ($40.67).

SOCAN has more than 160,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists as members.

Final figures will be determined following SOCAN's Board of Directors meeting next month and released in concert with its annual general meeting in June.

"Royalties from television, radio, international and concerts remain strong, but most growth this year came from domestic digital sources and it is clear that more must be done to improve the SOCAN writer and publisher's share from streaming royalties," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste in a press statement.

"The Canadian government has acknowledged that Canadian content rules and discoverability must be modernized for the digital age. If music creation – the lifeblood of Canada's music industry – is not supported quickly through the development of updated rules, there could be dire economic and cultural consequences."

The $30 million overall increase is due to the $23 million in digital collections plus the $7 million from reproduction rights collections, following SOCAN's 2018 acquisition of Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC).

"While royalties from digital sources remain too small for most SOCAN members, revenue from international sources continued to show strength at the historically high mark, and new record, of $88.5-million, demonstrating again that Canadian music creators and publishers continue to outperform on a global level," the press release says.