SOCAN announced its final financial results for 2018. The results suggest a record year for royalties earned by more than 160,000 member songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists.
The organisation distributed record amounts to more members than ever before. It also cautioned that more must be done to ensure that all rights holders receive a more equitable share of rapidly growing revenues from the digital use of their music.
Important results SOCAN achieved in 2018 :
• A record $320-million distributed to the members – an 8% increase over the previous year.
• $375-million in total collections – an 11% increase compared with 2017.
• Domestic collections were at an all-time high of $286-million – 9% more than 2017.
• A 15% year-over-year increase in royalties from outside of Canada ($87-million), again the top revenue stream for SOCAN members
• Even with a substantially more complex environment and investments in technology to keep SOCAN ahead of the digital curve, it was able to operate with a 12.6% net expense ratio.
• A 29% increase in revenue from digital sources ($63-million).
“The popularity of music streaming continues to increase. A SOCAN member who received royalties in 2018 on average took in only $54 from digital sources,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste.
“Digital platforms are reaping massive value on the backs of music creators and publishers. SOCAN will continue to fight for a more equitable and fair compensation for rights holders as this part of the industry matures.”
Baptiste highlighted several key recent advancements for the company’s members at SOCAN’s AGM. These included the full acquisition of Quebec-based SODRAC, bringing mechanical/reproduction rights and royalties to members, as well as the extension of SOCAN’s mandate into visual arts. The creation of Entandem, a combined licensing venture with RE:SOUND that will bring benefits to rights holders and licensed businesses alike and the addition of Dataclef, the back office services arm of the organization.
SOCAN continues to harness artificial intelligence. It offers tools to third-party organizations to build software from its online application programming interface (API) specifications. The API helps to identify and collect on more public uses of music, returning more royalties with greater speed and accuracy to those who have rightfully earned them.
SOCAN’s member advocacy accomplishments with the federal government was also discussed in the AGM. Several recommendations were included in the recent Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage “Shifting Paradigms” report, including:
• Extending the term of copyright protection to the creator’s lifetime plus 70 years.
• Regulation and clarification of the “charitable exemption” clause for businesses using music.
• Updating the private copying regime to be technologically neutral.
• Remuneration for visual artists when their copyright works are re-sold.
• A more level playing field for rights holders across all platforms.
SOCAN is a rights management organization. It connects more than four-million music creators worldwide and more than a quarter-million businesses and individuals in Canada.