By Jeff King
SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is performed in most countries around the world. These international performances have always provided, and continue to provide, an increasingly important income stream for many SOCAN members.
In fact, more than 20 percent of royalties distributed to SOCAN members are derived from performances of their music in other countries. In 2013, SOCAN collected more than $51 million from performing rights organizations (PROs) around the world for our members. This is the first time that SOCAN members have surpassed the $50 million mark for royalties originating from outside of Canada.
It’s also an increase of eight per cent over 2012, and continues the positive trend that has seen royalties surge from $39 million in 2007 to $47 million in 2012 and now $51 million in 2013. The number of SOCAN member songwriters, lyricists, composers and music publishers who receive royalties from outside of Canada has more than doubled over the past six years.
So how does SOCAN collect these all-important international royalties?
Through reciprocal agreements with PROs in many countries throughout the world – like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in the U.S., PRS For Music in the U.K. and SACEM in France – SOCAN receives royalties from them for performances of our members’ music. In turn, SOCAN distributes royalties to these affiliated PROs for performances of their members’ work in Canada.
Our members provide information to SOCAN about their international performances and repertoire, and SOCAN, in turn, keeps international PROs updated about them. This enables those foreign PROs to administer our members’ performances and repertoire in their own countries, and provide international performance royalties to our members through SOCAN. We also review international music publications regularly to track our members’ activities abroad, and obtain worldwide music release information through the international CISNet database.
We’re currently investigating services that will better provide information on international performances, to ensure that our members’ music is even more accurately identified, and that maximum royalties are fairly collected and paid. Thanks to SOCAN’s pursuit of ever more efficient, effective collection of international royalties, our members will be able to earn the greatest possible rewards from this crucial income stream.