Canada's SOCAN Acquires Digital Rights Firm Audiam

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In a move that further enhances its capabilities to maximize digital revenues for its members while seemingly taking another step into the United States, SOCAN has acquired Audiam, the rights management firm founded in 2013 by Jeff Price and David Willen, both formerly with TuneCore. Terms of the deal -- announced Thursday (July 21) -- were not disclosed.

This marks the second acquisition of a rights management company for SOCAN, the Canadian performing rights organization. In May, SOCAN acquired MediaNet, which had a database with more than 51 million sound recordings as well as serving as the backroom to a bunch of online stores and digital services. In addition to moving into the U.S., the two deals also help expand SOCAN into mechanical licensing for digital.

In announcing the latest deal, SOCAN says Audiam maintains one of the most complete databases of sound recordings matched to the underlying song/composition metadata. Moreover, Audiam has sophisticated audit and auto-match technology to proactively find works that are not licensed, which means that royalties are not being properly paid out.

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"In 2013 Audiam shook up the music royalties system by identifying and correcting serious gaps in the digital music rights value chain, particularly with music used in YouTube videos, by correctly matching data to the rights-holder," SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste said in a statement. "By acquiring Audiam, SOCAN steps even further ahead with our vision to lead the global transformation of music rights with substantial new tools for our more than 135,000 member songwriters, composers and music publishers, dramatically expanding our ability to ensure that creators are properly and fairly compensated."

In the announcement, SOCAN said it will instantly leverage Audiam's identification technology and services to more accurately pay members' performing rights royalties on YouTube and other digital platforms, expanding service offerings to songwriters, composers, and music publishing members.

SOCAN also plans to integrate Audiam's other strong business lines such as North American licensing and administration of mechanical income from digital services, including Spotify, Google Play and Apple, as well as leverage Audiam's proven track record to identify and recover pre-existing mechanical royalties that typically have remained unpaid.

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This marks the second company that Jeff Price has founded or co-founded that has been sold. He founded TuneCore and raised capital from Opus Capital and Guitar Center before selling to Believe Digital. In this new deal, Price will remain CEO of Audiam, which will remain a separate organization from SOCAN for the “foreseeable future.” But he will work closely with Baptiste and report to the board of Audiam, which includes SOCAN representatives.

Audiam's existing clients remain on board and includes the publishing catalogs of such songwriters and publishers as Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Jack White, Jason Mraz, Steve Miller, Hyvetown, Round Hill Music, Imagem, Pretty Lights, Ruthless, Jimmy Buffett, Victory, Epitaph and Sumerian.

"SOCAN is not only the most technologically advanced, efficient and transparent music rights organization on the planet, but its board of directors and executive team are singularly focused on assuring all the works of composers and publishers are licensed and they are paid for the use of their music," Price said in a statement. "Adding their resources and knowledge to Audiam allows us to finally fix the global industry problems, remove liability for services and get rights-holders paid."