By Eric Baptiste
SOCAN fights for the legal and ethical use of music, and actually advocates for new digital music models. We believe that our track record is clear in this regard, but people should not forget that obtaining a SOCAN license is not the only step that is necessary for a new digital service to launch in Canada.
Of course, SOCAN fights for the rights of those who create music. But we also work with digital music providers to ensure that music creators are fairly compensated for their hard work and extraordinary talent. SOCAN works tirelessly to reconcile sustainable digital music models – whose existence ultimately benefits our members – with fair royalty payments for music creators, without whom these models would have no music to provide to their listeners.
SOCAN considers organizations that use music, including digital music providers, as partners. They’re our customers, and they’re an essential bridge between our members and their listeners. We want businesses licensed to play music to empower and please their music listeners – consumers of music, their customers – who are now creating their own music experiences via playlists, streaming choices, downloading, making soundtracks to homemade YouTube videos, and so on. What we desire is to give listeners access to all of the music they want to hear – anytime, anywhere, on any device – in return for fair compensation to the creators of that music. That’s what we mean by “Music.People.Connected.”, the line that appears under our logo.
Simply put: we strive for what’s fair for everyone: music businesses, listeners and creators.
And music creators – songwriters, composers, and lyricists – are hugely valuable to our country. They foster economic growth; establish social values; promote Canada’s influence worldwide; work in a field that is digital, environmentally friendly, and job-intensive; and preserve and foster employment.
Music creators’ activities directly and indirectly add billions of dollars to the Canadian economy each year; provide jobs to Canadians throughout the music industry ecosystem, with a ripple effect throughout the broader economy; reduce Canadian dependency on imported entertainment; and support and nurture personalities that are worldwide icons of Canadian creativity and flair. Individuals and businesses that create music also contribute to Canada’s priceless “cultural capital.”
In view of these contributions, music creators – just like all working professionals – deserve fair compensation. The performance royalties that SOCAN identifies and distributes are a significant part of their livelihood.
With production budgets for music recording and movie scores getting lower and lower, performance royalties have become an ever-more-important revenue stream for all songwriters and composers. For behind-the-scenes songwriters who don’t perform their own material, it’s often their primary source of income. For independent, non-performing music creators, there’s no minimum wage, no salary, no employee benefits. They usually don’t make a dime until someone actually licenses or listens to a public performance of the music that they worked hard to create.
Music creators add value to our lives and growth to the economy. Ultimately, the music that they create is the source of great musical experiences that enrich the lives of listeners and enhance business, both in Canada and throughout the world. SOCAN is pleased, proud and honoured to be fighting for their rights.