A preliminary report indicates The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) had another record year in 2017, with total revenues of more than $350 million CAD ($284.5 million USD). But, despite a 6.4 percent increase over 2016, the performing right’s organization’s CEO Eric Baptiste says his company is remaining “restrained with our celebrations.”
The announcement’s optimistic tone is tempered by what it calls “a large dose of realism,” acknowledging that the majority of its 150,000 members — songwriters, composers and music publishers — who received payment for their streamed music in 2017 earned an average of only $38.72 ($31.47 USD) despite a growth of 46 percent in internet-based revenues over 2016.
“SOCAN as an organization is collecting and distributing more royalties than ever because of the incredible work of our domestic and international licensing teams and, frankly, everyone within SOCAN,” Baptiste said in a statement. “Investments in technology and our ability to match data with members’ songs have played a big role as well. However, we are restrained with our celebrations.
“As a new area of growth, streamed music continues its rapid uptake, resulting in a 46 percent increase in revenues, but, if original music is to thrive or even survive in Canada, overall remuneration for digital music must be corrected to be commensurate with the contributions of music creators and publishers as well as its importance to music fans from coast to coast to coast.”
According to early estimates — the official numbers will be approved in March during a meeting of the SOCAN board of directors — SOCAN’s revenues continued to accelerate, due mainly to long-term investments in leading-edge technologies, strategic acquisitions and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Other expected highlights include domestic revenue of $274 million, which is an increase of 4.5 percent over last year’s record, and a 35 percent increase since 2012; a 46 percent increase in unternet audio streaming revenues compared with 2016, with $49.3 million realized; and royalties from non-Canadian sources surpassing $75M, which SOCAN reports is “the No. 1 revenue stream for SOCAN members,” marking a 60 percent increase since 2012.
“SOCAN is collecting more overall on almost every level,” added Baptiste. “Our investment in artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies position it at the forefront of the music rights industry now, providing a positive path to the future. Canada’s and the world’s music creators and publishers are receiving more of what they have earned; however, in most cases those amounts are too small because of frequently unfair royalty rates that are not commensurate with the true value of their creative intellectual property.”
According to the organization, the increase in international royalties collected and distributed can be attributed to the performance of members’ works worldwide, a favorable exchange rate and the efforts of SOCAN’s International relations and membership teams.