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SOCAN Collections Rebound 6% to $325M

The Canadian collection society's revenue increase was driven by a nearly 30% growth in digital collections.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) saw collections rebound 6.4% to 416 million Canadian dollars ($325.5 million) from the prior year’s total of 391 million Canadian dollars ($305.9 million), despite the pandemic’s lingering economic impact in 2021.

The SOCAN revenue collection total breaks out to $310 million Canadian ($242.55 million) in domestic receipts and 105 million Canadian dollars ($82.94 million) from foreign receipts. Domestically, that represents a 6.5% increase from 2020’s 291 million Canadian dollars ($227.64 million), while it’s a 6% increase over the 100 million Canadian dollars ($78.2 million) the society took in from foreign territories that year.

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“Given the challenges of the pandemic, at the end of 2020 we prepared for a financially austere 2021,” said SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown. “Thanks to a combination of more music being consumed in Canada and worldwide and the diligence and commitment of our nearly 280 employees working tirelessly to uncover and collect domestic and international music licenses, we were able to bring in more than ever for our nearly 180,000 members for their incredible and invaluable work.”

Although SOCAN didn’t yet reveal how much it distributed in 2021, a more complete report on the organization’s financials is expected in June. Without yet giving specifics, SOCAN noted that synchronization was up 37% in 2021 over 2020.

The organization’s overall revenue increase for 2021 was driven by a whopping 29.8% growth in digital collections to 135 million Canadian dollars ($105.63 million) from the prior year’s total of 104 million Canadian dollars ($81.4 million).

Despite that growth, the society appeared to express disappointment in payments from digital services. “Despite the continuing positive growth in digital music licensing and the popularity of online streaming services, a SOCAN writer member who earned royalties in 2021 earned an average of only $67.14 Canadian ($52.53) from domestic digital sources for the entire year,” the SOCAN financial result announcement stated.

During the year, SOCAN added another 6,000 members and now counts membership at 180,000.

Looking ahead, the organization said it’s “cautiously optimistic for 2022 for the return of in-person events and concerts as Canada and the rest of the world emerge from the two-year COVID-19 crisis.”

SOCAN also said it’s looking forward to the “prospect of the passage of the federal government’s Online Streaming Act to help safeguard the future of Canadian music all bode well for a continuation of positive results for Canada’s music creators, publishers, and visual artists.”