latest

SOCAN Reports Record Revenues in 2017; Raises Concerns About Streaming Rates

[![SOCAN's Eric Baptiste](/content/images/2015/12/Baptiste-300x200.jpg)](/content/images/2015/12/Baptiste.jpg)SOCAN’s Eric Baptiste
SOCAN has reported record revenues accumulated and distributed in 2017 for its songwriter, composer and music publisher members, but says it did so with a large dose of realism, revealing that the vast majority of members who received payment for their streamed music in 2017 earned an average of only $38.72[1] 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. 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,” says SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “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 preliminary financial results[2], SOCAN’s revenues collected for its nearly 150,000 member songwriters, composers and music publishers continued to accelerate, due mainly to long-term investments in modern technologies, strategic acquisitions, and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Estimated highlights include:

– Total performing rights revenues in 2017 of more than $350-million, a 6.4% increase over 2016 and the first time exceeding $350-million.

– Total distribution of royalties to SOCAN members of more than $300-million for the first time in the organization’s history.

– Domestic revenue of $274-million, an increase of 4.5% over last year’s record, and a 35% increase since 2012.

– A 46% increase in internet audio streaming revenues compared with 2016, with $49.3-million realized.

– Royalties from non-Canadian sources of more than $75-million, now the No. 1 revenue stream for SOCAN members, reflecting the strength of Canadian talent and SOCAN’s repertoire. This marks a 60% increase since 2012.

“SOCAN is collecting more overall on almost every level,” Baptiste added. “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.”

The company added that the substantial increase in international royalties collected and distributed can be attributed to the impressive performance of members’ works worldwide, a favourable exchange rate, and the efforts of SOCAN’s International Relations and Membership teams.

[1] Average annual streaming revenues (including both digital Internet and digital audio-visual performances) distributed to a SOCAN member who earned royalties in 2017. despite a growth of 46 percent in Internet-based revenues over 2016.

[2] Estimates; final figures will be determined following the March 2018 meeting of the SOCAN Board of Directors., SOCAN’s revenues collected for its nearly 150,000 member songwriters, composers and music publishers continued to accelerate, due mainly to long-term investments in leading-edge technologies, strategic acquisitions and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Author image
Mike Raine is the Senior editor of Canadian Musician.