CEO Message: SOCAN strives for what’s fair to all

Published 04/22/2014

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.

About Eric Baptiste

Eric Baptiste is the CEO of SOCAN. In this capacity, he leads the close to 300 staff members coast-to-coast, who connect the 115,000 Canadian composers, songwriters and music publishers who are direct SOCAN members, and their more than three million colleagues worldwide, with more than 125,000 Canadian businesses that depend on music to enhance their activities. A native of France, before joining SOCAN in 2010, Eric led CISAC, the World Federation of Authors Societies for 12 years, had an eight-year stint in radio as COO of Radio France International and then CEO of a Paris commercial station. Eric has chaired music and radio trade associations in France, currently serves on various boards of organizations such as CISAC and the CPCC, and chairs the ISAN International Agency based in Geneva, as well as Radio Neo, a French non-commercial radio network dedicated to emerging artists. As a graduate of École Nationale d’Administration who started his early professional life at the Conseil d’État in Paris, he could have become a government official or even a lawyer, but this is a different story, in a parallel universe… Eric lives in Toronto and music (of course), good food, fine wines and science fiction are passions he’s ready to acknowledge.


  1. Silvermane Wesleyjohn

    Very interested to read that you have become CEO of a Canadian music rights corp, having come from France, and that you are so involved in the music scene there. I am in Southern Oregon, USA, having escaped the very meteorological conditions, terrain and snow-drenching you have gone to! Just kidding, Canada is still great. I am here more for love than anything. I still write and record since my kids have grown and gone, and am living the life of a starving musician. OK, semi-starving, since we live on and are sustained by our farm. Anyway, all the best to you at SOCAN. I have a very wonderful memory of one of SOCAN’s seminars visiting my hometown of Ottawa many years ago, and learned a lot I apply to my music career even today.
    God bless, and au revoir!
    Silvermane Wesleyjohn
    Central Point, Oregon, USA


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