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Membership report

Michael McCarty
Michael McCarty
Chief Membership & Business Development Officer

When preparing this report, we looked back at the 2014 issues of SOCAN’s terrific online and print magazine Words + Music/ Paroles & Musique, and were struck by the breadth and diversity of the SOCAN community. There are stories about global domination like Drake, MAGIC!, and Stephan Moccio; massive domestic success such as Bobby Bazini, Jill Barber, Jeff Morrow, and Serge Fiori; triumphs in the Francophonie as seen in examples such as Les Hay Babies, and Dead Obies; entrepreneurial success stories like those of ole, CP Music Group, and 604 Records; and many who destined for future success, like Sierra Noble and Francesco Yates.

These stories remind us that our members represent every conceivable geographic, demographic and genre category that Canada has to offer. They create and publish pop, urban, EDM, country, folk, jazz, rock, classical, movie and TV themes, foreground and background music, and infomercials, in Canada’s two official languages, and countless others, including Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Creole. Most live in Canada, but many have settled in the various international music capitals. We have world-class music publishing entrepreneurs investing millions of dollars in the careers of songwriters, composers, and artists, and developing leading brands in the sync licensing space. We have writers who get to feel the life-changing impact of a worldwide hit, and we also have members experiencing the thrill of earning their first royalty dollar – from the internet.

SOCAN’s Membership team is dedicated to serving our members in multiple ways, not the least of which is fielding questions about their SOCAN member accounts. In 2014 we handled more than 26,000 inbound phone calls and more than 17,000 incoming e-mails from members, while also welcoming nearly 5,500 new writer and publisher members to the SOCAN community.

The Canadian music creator economy is building faster than ever – and so is SOCAN.

And we serve our members in a fully transparent manner. SOCAN members who visit the secure section of our website at or on the SOCAN app have the ability to drill down in their statements and view their earnings, right to the level of which radio or TV station aired their work. No other PRO provides this capability. We provide a royalty calculator tool for our members, another unique feature among all PROs worldwide. Our Distribution Rules, also available in the secure section of the website, explain exactly where the revenue is from and how the performances are calculated, a level of detail beyond that of any PRO in North America.

Beyond our core royalty collection and payment responsibilities, SOCAN helps grow the ecosystem that spawns this incredibly rich, diverse group of members. In 2014 we sponsored 16 well-known, established events such as the JUNO Songwriters Circle, Canadian Music Week, North By Northeast, Les FrancoFolies, Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée, CCMA Songwriters Series, Festival international de la chanson de Granby and Festival Osheaga, as well as Song Camps hosted by Casablanca, MERGE (Nettwerk) and ole.

Through our sponsorship of CIMA’s initiatives, we helped create extensive domestic and international showcase opportunities for our members (including 2014 Montreal SOCAN Award Breakout Artist Klô Pelgag), as well as support a strong publisher presence at MIDEM. Our accomplished Film & TV composers were celebrated at SOCAN-hosted receptions at the Canadian Screen Awards (Toronto), Canadian Music Café (TIFF) and at luncheons with Les Prix Gémeaux and Les Jutra nominees. We created new platforms for members to develop their craft (e.g., “Cooking Beats” at CMW and SXSW), and helped writer and publisher members develop new markets. Our re-vamped L.A. presence seamlessly integrates these initiatives with support of our ever-expanding Los Angeles based songwriter and audio-visual composer community.

Taking pride in celebrating the success of our members reached new heights in 2014, starting with the new-look Toronto SOCAN Awards in June. Echoing the night’s theme of “Dream Big,” we introduced a new date, a new format, and a world-first music trophy “The SOCAN/Le SOCAN.” The result was our best-attended, most-talked-about Toronto SOCAN Awards show ever. Key recipients were Gordon Lightfoot, Carly Rae Jepsen, Drake, Stephan Moccio, and Bill Henderson.

In November at the Montréal SOCAN Awards, we took an already special night to new heights with new Global Inspiration, Urban Music and Country Music honours, and celebrated Luc Plamondon’s 30th classic song with a special tribute by Martine St-Clair. The opening number of the Gala featured, among others, No. 1 Song Award recipients Alex Nevsky and Karim Ouellet performing a medley of classics from the past 25 years. Also performing was Patrice Michaud, who won our Prix de la chanson SOCAN 2014,with his song “Mécaniques générales,” which has since been used in Québec ad campaigns by both Honda and Pepsi.

Because our members are working in an environment that is increasingly complex, competitive and global, SOCAN’s Membership Department has responded by introducing a new strategic plan that will result in us providing even more value to their careers and businesses. We’re increasing the specialist knowledge base of our staff, leading initiatives to improve the user experience of our online tools, creating new cutting-edge services, and through our new A&R Division, ramping up our music industry savvy in order be an even more effective partner in helping our members grow their careers and businesses, at home and abroad.


  • 5,835 new SOCAN members in 2014
  • 128,000+ SOCAN members (overall)
  • 1,312,439 works registered by SOCAN in 2014
  • 22,211 Notification of Live Music Performance forms filed online by SOCAN members in 2014
    • 18,536 for domestic concerts
    • 3,675 for international concerts
  • 1,330 SOCAN Mobile App downloads in 2014

Licensing report

Jennifer Brown
Jennifer Brown
Vice President – Licensing

In 2014, SOCAN’s Licensing department collected $232.8-million in licenses – which is $9.2-million more than in 2013 – exceeding our target of $225-million. Increases, primarily in concerts and new media, offset a slight decline in television and radio revenue.

SOCAN was happy to see the launch of new online services in the Canadian market, and will be tracking their progress very closely. In addition, new media revenue benefitted from the newly-certified tariffs for online audio-visual services such as Netflix. The net outcome is that the revenue from the online audio-visual and audio-streaming sites more than made up for the slight decline in revenue from traditional TV and Radio.

In order to help us navigate the transition from traditional media to new media, we started working with an advertising analyst agency to help us forecast usage and revenue trends. We’ll continue to monitor this transition, which should assist us in forecasting, and in developing new SOCAN tariffs.

Licensing also continued to work closely with the Distribution and Membership departments to ensure that our members’ live performances were licensed. As members submitted their set lists, we were able to license more than $200,000 in new concerts, which then is directly distributed to the music creators and publishers.

We also continued to support and market our eSOCAN site as a way for licensees to report and pay online. In 2014, we increased online reporting by more than 300 per cent, and payments by more than 130 per cent. We hope to continue this trend upward and seek out feedback from our licensees on how to improve the online service.


The year 2014 also saw the introduction of the “Licensed To Play” program, as we provided more than 30,000 of our 125,000 licensed establishments with Licensed To Play stickers. The stickers primarily went out to our annual licensees, but the campaign will continue to expand. In addition, we’re pleased that in 2015, we’ll also provide Licensed To Play stickers to many establishments that are licensed through their background music supplier, Stingray. Business and marketing partnerships such as this are emblematic of the SOCAN Licensing team’s more positive approach to working with businesses that use music.

SOCAN’s Licensing department is probably the most transparent of any major performing rights organization worldwide. All Copyright Board of Canada-approved tariffs/music uses are available on our website, and for many General Licensing and Concerts tariffs/music uses, SOCAN has the following information there as well: a summary that explains the tariff/music use (including media and new media) in plain language, with examples of how to calculate licence fees; a license fee calculator; and a report form that can be completed to calculate the licence fee based on the tariff/music use criteria. SOCAN Licensees that log in to the secure section of (eSOCAN), can access their historical statements, their reports submitted online, and their online payment information.

Without music licensing there would be no royalties for our members. We recognize SOCAN’s importance to our member songwriters, composers and music publishers, and year after year we strive to continue to build on our successes by expanding our licensing efforts to reach new licensees and bring in more revenue, while providing the utmost clarity and transparency throughout that complicated process and hard work.


  • Licensed online audiovisual and streaming sites, including Netflix, Spotify and Google Play
  • Generated $1.9-million in new general licensing business with more than 3,700 new accounts
  • Online tool for music users (eSOCAN) continued to see substantial growth in 2014:
    • Total of 2,655 newly licensed accounts (29% increase over 2013)
    • More than 11,700 licensing reports submitted online (300% increase over 2013)
    • Payments of $875,000 (152% increase over 2013)

Licensing Report

Distribution report

Kit Wheeler
Kit Wheeler
Vice President – Distribution

SOCAN’s Distribution team issued $241-million in royalties in 2014, of which $50.3-million were foreign royalties (a new record for the organization).

These results were achieved by improving the accuracy and currency of the records of more than 20-million songs in SOCAN’s repertoire by the almost four-million songwriters, composers and music publishers from Canada and around the world that we represent in Canada.

By using sophisticated technology to track and analyze performance data from the more than 125,000 licensed businesses in Canada, SOCAN ensures that music creators and publishers receive fair, timely and accurate compensation for the public performance of their music.

In 2014, we provided royalties for almost six-million Audio Visual musical performances, more than 40-million radio and satellite radio musical performances, more than 26,000 live concerts, and more than 5.5-billion Internet musical performances in Canada.

In addition to allocating royalties to members and affiliate performing rights organizations, the Distribution department implemented a number of key strategies in 2014:

  • Moving forward our MusicMark initiative with ASCAP and BMI to build tools, share best practices and implement improvements in the service we provide to the members of all three of our organizations. In 2014, for example, we launched a central registration portal for a Common Works Registration submitter, allowing multiple, or batch, registrations at one time.
  • The establishment of a new Audio-Visual online distribution pool and new processes to pay our members arrears royalties for Netflix performances from 2010 through 2013.
  • Worked closely with key media services such as the CBC and Gracenote to improve the quality of information provided, in turn improving our results in identifying the music publicly performed on those outlets.
  • Increased efficiency and reduced costs by leveraging automation, streamlining and prioritizing work and processes. We remain focused on improving our ability to handle large volumes of data, and engaging our data providers to move away from manual data entry and work towards electronic standardization.
  • Continued exploration of new tools, such as fingerprinting and monitoring technology, to better and more thoroughly identify members’ music and enhance royalty distributions.


  • $241-million royalties paid in 2014
  • $50.3-million foreign royalties paid to SOCAN members
  • 20-million-plus songs in SOCAN’s repertoire
  • 3.8-million songwriters, composers, publishers worldwide
  • Distribuited in 2014
    • 5.9-million Audio Visual performances
    • 40.7-million radio and satellite radio performances
    • 5.6-billion Internet performances
    • 26,378 live concerts

Financial report

David Wood
David Wood
Chief Financial Officer

For the second consecutive year, SOCAN has set a record for total revenue, with a total of $299.5-million brought in for 2014. Gross Expenses decreased by $1.0-million and we experienced a significant return on investments, ensuring that SOCAN achieved a Corporate Net Expense Ratio of 9.5 percent, the first time this ratio has fallen below 10 percent. This achievement demonstrates SOCAN’s strength at licensing performing rights, as well as our continued focus on efficient expense management to ensure that more royalties are provided to tens of thousands of Canadian songwriters, composers and music publishers as well as the rightsholders we represent in Canada via agreements with 105 societies in 213 countries and territories.

Financial highlights in 2014:

  • Total revenue of $299.5-million collected from domestic, international and private copying proceeds – a year-over-year increase of 8.4 percent from the $276.4-million brought in during 2013, itself a record-setting year for SOCAN.
  • International revenue from Canadian-created music of $55.5-million, an increase of $4.3-million, or 8.3 percent, from 2013. This record for International revenue comes on the heels of surpassing $50-million in 2013 for the first time.
  • Revenue of $21.3-million from Internet streaming properties, up from $3.4-million in 2013.
  • SOCAN’s CorporateNet Expense Ratio was 9.5 percent, below 10 percent for the first time in the history of the organization, positioning it as one of the most cost-effective major music rights organizations in the world.

To read the complete Financial Report, click the PDF below.

icon-pdf SOCAN Financial Report 2014 (File size: 1MB)

Please note that Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF files. You can download a free copy of the latest version here.

International Relations Report

Catharine Saxberg
Catharine Saxberg
Vice President – International Relations

The year 2014 was the first that SOCAN’s international royalty collection efforts were centralized in a stand-alone department, now known as International Relations. The creation of the new International Relations department has allowed SOCAN to be even more proactive in chasing international royalties, with more efficient processes and sophisticated tracking tools. As a result, 2014 was a record year for SOCAN’s international revenue, which topped $55-million, a full eight percent above the already ambitious target established at the beginning of last year.

In addition, we implemented improvements – discovered by running a case study – to analyze our query processes, significantly reducing our average query response time. This played a major role in SOCAN resolving a record number of queries in 2014. We doubled our expected revenue from unidentified works and outstanding queries, from an expected $600,000 to $1.2-million.

And as with other departments at SOCAN, we work transparently. Not all performing rights organizations (PROs) provide distribution rules to their members, but we do, and they’re easily accessible in the members’ secure section at We provide an overall level of detail on our statements that’s greater and clearer, we believe, than any performing rights organizations. And we’re also proactively looking for missed payments on unidentified works, even internationally.

To that end, to demonstrate the importance of our relationships with foreign music rights organizations, and to improve them, we completed the first year of a three-year plan to visit in-person many of our key partners. In 2014, SOCAN’s International Relations department called on PRSfm (U.K.), SACEM (France), ASCAP and BMI (both in the U.S.), SGAE (Spain), GEMA (Germany), AKM (Austria), and JASRAC (Japan). We have a similarly ambitious plan of contact for 2015, because these visits generate important business intelligence and help to keep the interests of SOCAN members top-of-mind worldwide.

The International Relations team has stepped up to its new challenges in an impressive fashion. Roles were re-defined for every member of the department, and all adapted quickly and enthusiastically to their new circumstances and objectives.

More and more, SOCAN members take their creativity to the world. The International Relations department will build on 2014’s successes to ensure that we continue to aggressively pursue our members’ money worldwide.


  • Creation of a new, even more proactive International Relations department
  • More than $55-million collected in international royalties, highest number ever
  • $1.2-million collected from queries and unidentified performances, double the goal
  • Significantly shorter time, on average, to resolve queries
  • Record number of queries resolved

International Report

Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Report

Lisa Gaglia
Lisa Gaglia
Manager – Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and those who have dedicated their lives to the legacy of music, and works to educate the public about these achievements.

A national non-profit organization, the Hall of Fame was founded in 1998 by long-time record producer and music publisher Frank Davies, and was transferred to SOCAN in 2011. The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame mandate aligns with SOCAN’s objectives as a transparent songwriter and publisher member-based organization. SOCAN’s support and involvement ensures that the Hall of Fame will be able to continue to recognize this rich, unique musical heritage for many years to come.

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is guided by an independent industry-inclusive board of directors who comprise Anglophone and Francophone music creators and publishers, and other music industry representatives. The directors represent the founding Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame organizations, the Canadian Music Publishers Association and the Songwriters Association of Canada, as well as those that have significantly contributed to the Hall of Fame over the years: SOCAN, the Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM), and the Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ).

Following a nearly two-year re-development of the organization, in order to set a foundation for sustainable success, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014 commenced activities to achieve and promote its mandate:

  • The development and release of a new, transparent, content-rich online presence, including more than 300 video clips, audio tracks and song lyrics. The re-designed, bilingual website showcases the Hall of Fame’s extraordinary video footage from its past seven induction ceremonies, makes available audio and lyrics for inducted songs, and provides background on Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees.
  • The launch of Educating Through Music, a national online education program, in time for the 2014-15 school year. Educating Through Music uses the music of Hall of Fame inductees to teach students in various subject areas, including History, Geography, Language Arts and Technology. Educating Through Music features English- and French-language, ready-made lesson plans for teachers to use towards their efforts in the classroom, along with supporting multi-media content; information about careers in the music industry; student activities; and more. The program is available to teachers and students via subscriptions purchased by schools.
  • The establishment of a comprehensive, sustained program to ensure that all media content on the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and education program websites is licensed for use. This project is in keeping with SOCAN’s commitment to transparency and advocacy of copyright, ensuring that rights-holders are appropriately remunerated for use of their work.
The Hall of Fame’s desire to stay fresh and innovative led it to explore new ways to increase the profile and visibility of Canada’s greatest songs and songwriters, and help promote Canadian artists. In pursuit of these objectives, and in collaboration with the CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame developed a new song induction program that would publicly honour and celebrate newly inducted songs with covers performed by our country’s brightest musical talents. The series, Covered Classics, was launched in February 2015.

Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Highlights

Since 2003, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame has inducted:

  • 133 songs
  • 33 songwriters
  • 17 individuals who have dedicated their lives to the legacy of music

You are encouraged and welcomed to find more information about the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and see and hear important Hall of Fame content, at the organization’s website,

CSHF Report

Foundation report

Jean Francois Denis
Jean-François Denis
President – SOCAN Foundation

SOCAN Foundation was established in 1992, as a distinct legal entity separate from SOCAN, to support events and projects benefitting songwriters, composers and music publishers. Details on SOCAN Foundation’s programs and activities are available on its website. In 2014, SOCAN Foundation provided core funding to 10 national associations, each of which ran programs that benefitted Canadian music creators and publishers. These organizations foster musical creativity and promote a better understanding of the role that music creators play in today’s society.

SOCAN Foundation’s Board of Directors approved grants in several categories, such as music festivals, international showcasing and educational initiatives, which benefited to 584 recipients.

For the current three-year term, the seven Foundation directors drawn from the SOCAN Board of Directors are Geneviève Côté (until March 2014), Victor Davies, Ed Henderson, Craig Horton, Glenn Morley, Earl Rosen and Marc Ouellette. The additional appointed directors are John Burge, Mario Chenart, Jean-François Denis (Foundation president), Ajene “Agile” Griffith and Murray McLauchlan.

The Foundation’s revenue is derived, in part, through funding from SOCAN, which amounted to approximately $1.6-million for the year 2014. The Foundation also earned approximately $348,000 in investment revenue from its own endowment fund and other sources. After expenses, the Foundation distributed $1.7-million through various grants and competitions.

In 2013, the Foundation streamlined its online grant-application process and grant review process, and completely restructured the content and functionality of its website, with a new version that was launched in January 2014. Further refinements and new features were added throughout 2014 and into 2015.


  • In 2014, SOCAN Foundation received a record 675 grant applications and approved 594 of them.
  • More than $200,000 in grant payments went directly to Canadian songwriters and composers through two programs: Popular Music International Showcasing and Composer Outreach Residencies.
  • In 2014, SOCAN Foundation completely restructured the technology behind its website and online grant-application system, introducing some new grants programs.

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