Canadian performing rights organization SOCAN has released its preliminary numbers for the fiscal year 2019, reporting that its annual collections exceeded $400-million for the first time. The estimated total is $405.5 million collected, an 8% increase over the previous record of $375 million set in FY2018.
SOCAN attributed most of the approximately $30-million growth to an increase of approximately $23-million in collections from digital sources, as well as an additional $7-million from reproduction rights collections, following SOCAN's 2018 acquisition of Montréal-based SODRAC.
While digital collections ($86.1-million) increased by approximately $23-million (38%) over the $62.5-million of 2019, a SOCAN member who earned any royalties last year earned an average of only $67 from domestic digital royalties – despite it being a $13 (24%) increase over the 2018 average of $54.
"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," says SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. "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."
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 company also reported that the number of members who earned royalties in 2019 increased by nearly 3,000, as the company continues to attract songwriters, composers, and music publishers as members.
The dollar totals that SOCAN provides are estimates, with final figures determined following the March 2020 meeting of SOCAN's Board of Directors and released in concert with SOCAN's annual general meeting in Montréal in June.