This article is the first in a series we’ll be bringing you, called “Interfacing,” about the innovative companies we’re working with here at SOCAN.  The author, Ryan Maule, oversees this work, focused on finding those companies and integrating them with our services, ensuring that SOCAN members can access the best tools the music tech industry has to offer.

About $2 billion. According to industry trade magazine Variety, that’s how much in unpaid royalties that creatives are missing out on. Do you ever wonder why so many royalties are going unpaid? The answer is as obvious as it is complex — payers don’t know who deserves to be paid. That’s right, sometimes royalties sit in a holding pattern, because contributors aren’t accurately notated within the song. SOCAN understands the pain that this causes, and we’re always trying to find ways to make submitting this information easier. That’s why we want to introduce you to a new partner of ours, Jammber.

Based out of Nashville and Chicago, Jammber is an innovative music tech company that has developed a suite of tools for every step of the songwriting process. Each tool is designed to collect all of the required data that you, and SOCAN, need in order to collect your royalties.

“Creatives care a lot about their credits and their pay, they just need better tools to manage their career. At Jammber, our mission is to ‘make way for music.’ This means working to clear the many obstacles creatives face in the music industry and empowering them to maximize their success,” says Marcus Cobb, CEO and Co-Founder of Jammber. “We spent years researching and learning about each step of the creative process, to understand how to ease pain-points for artists, songwriters and the industry, as a whole.”

The most common challenge that artists and songwriters shared with the company was that they weren’t getting credit, or timely payment for their work. Jammber tackled this problem head-on. Jammber Splits revolutionizes how you manage co-writes. Songwriters can now say goodbye to the hassle of paper songwriting split sheets, and the uncertainty of handshake deals.

Splits captures songwriting share splits in real time. You’re able to plan and add co-write sessions with just a couple clicks of a button. During your co-write, the app collects all the vital information from your co-writer(s), such as the date of the song creation, info about the publisher, and affiliation with any performing rights organization. Once all writers agree to their ownership percentages, you’ll be able to register your new song with SOCAN.

“Throughout the process of building Splits, we worked closely with songwriters around the world, investing millions, and making hundreds of iterations until they gave us their stamp of approval. Establishing ownership of a song at the point of creation is crucial,” says Cobb. We agree!

Having the power to capture your percentage of ownership in a song at the point of creation, and simplifying the collection of metadata — which is essential to earning royalties — is a game-changer for songwriters. The ability to have all the necessary metadata for a song means you’ll get faster and more accurate royalty payments. This means never missing out on a royalty check again!

Jammber has invited SOCAN writers to be a part of their BETA testing group. As a member of the BETA team, you’ll have full access to Splits before it’s released to the general public. To join the beta, visit http://splitsbeta.jammber.com.

“Being able to share the Splits app with SOCAN clients is an important moment for Jammber. We believe in your art, and want you to have tools to help grow your business,” says Cobb.

The ultimate mission for Jammber is to eliminate the obstacles creators face within the music industry. Splits is just the tip of the iceberg. Jammber has developed multiple other tools for creators that streamline the creative and administrative processes, from the conception of a song, to recording it, to overall project management.

Our goal at SOCAN is to make it easier for you, the creator, to bring your ideas into reality, and to ensure that you get paid for your work.  By working with companies like Jammber, we’re working to enable you to do more, and do it more quickly and easily. Stay tuned for even more down the road.

For more information about Jammber, visit www.Jammber.com, and visit the SOCAN Partner page in the secure portal to find out more about the other opportunities we have cooking.  If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me, Ryan Maule, at ryan.maule@socan.com.

 



When the Toronto Raptors played the Golden State Warriors at home in Game One of the National Basketball Association 2019 championship finals on May 30, a famous local rapper did a hype-building mini-concert performance for the 5,000-plus fans gathered in “Jurassic Park” just outside the Scotiabank Arena. The song the rapper played was a love letter to the 6ix. (No, it wasn’t Drake.) Its familiar line, “I’m from the T dot, Oh / Rep it everywhere I go,” may be the definitive pro-Toronto rally cry.

The song, of course, was Kardinal Offishall’s “The Anthem.”

Originally released in 2010, Kardi’s Toronto-loving song was remixed and re-imagined for the Raptors playoff run at the behest of giant American sports broadcaster ESPN, who used the new version of “The Anthem” to anchor their video tribute to the eventual world championship-winning team.

Kardinal Offishall, Kardi, Raptors

Click on the photo to see the ESPN video

“That whole re-vamping of ‘The Anthem’ was something very, very special,” says Kardinal Offishall, whose updated version of the song features mentions of key Raptors players Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard, Pascual “Spicy P” Siakam, Danny Green, and Marc Gasol.

Kardinal, whose career in the Can-rap spotlight stretches all the way back to the breakthrough Rascalz posse track “Northern Touch” in 1998, says the new lyrics for “The Anthem” came to him in a burst.

“I think, literally, at 5:00 in the morning, it was just, ‘Oh, there it is’ and I banged it out one-time, and it was done within 15 minutes,” says Kardinal. “But that’s kind of my method, that’s how I write. I’m one of those people, when I’m in that good zone and that good vibe, it doesn’t take long for me most of the time.”

That Kardi got to soundtrack the Raptors’ run — and get paid by ESPN for doing so — isn’t lost on him. “Would I have done it for free? Probably. Is it nice that I got a cheque and got to represent?” asks Kardinal, rhetorically. “Absolutely amazing.”

The Raptors’ playoff run has coincided with a period of renewal for the rapper / producer / actor/ Universal Music Canada Creative Executive Director of A&R. He released the potent new single “Run” on June 12 — the day before the Raptors’ championship-clinching Game Six — and is planning to release Pick Your Poison in the fall, his first album in four years. Though “Run” wasn’t released specifically to coincide with the Raptors’ run, the song’s stand-tall themes and high spirit matched the feeling of the city during the sports team’s march to victory.

“I don’t like to just do random stuff. I try to attach songs to moments.”

“I don’t like to just do random stuff,” says Kardi. “I try to attach songs to moments – and rather than it have anything to do with the Raptors per se, it was just the energy and the vibe of it. We were maybe going to release it Canada Day, but there was just such an indescribable energy and magic that was in the city at the time.”

There’s an unlikely source behind the newly jump-started Kardinal: veteran American comedian Dave Chappelle. A pep talk with Chappelle helped Kardi put a period of feeling “uninspired” in perspective.

Rappers love Raptors: 10 jams that “big up” the team

  • “Really Doe,” by Danny Brown Featuring Kendrick Lamar,
  • Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt
  • “Rapture,” by Fabolous and Jadakiss
  • “It’s Lit,” by Kyle featuring IAmSu!
  • “Something to Say,” by Nick Grant
  • “Streets at Night,” by PRhyme
  • “Throw It,” by SahBabii
  • “Daytona 500,” by The Game
  • “Makaveli,” by Tory Lanez
  • “Winter Schemes,” by Wale featuring J. Cole
  • “Love You,” by Roy Woods

“Dave said to me, ‘Man, Kardi, I’m a massive, massive fan, and I know that if I’m a massive fan, that means there are hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of other fans across North America, and Canada, and Europe, and Asia, and everywhere in between.’ So, it was like one of these scenarios where we had a very transparent, honest, really great night over some drinks in his hometown,” says Kardinal. “Dave Chappelle needs absolutely nothing from me, so him telling me this is not because he’s trying to butter me up ’cause he needs a favour, or needs to borrow some money. It was just a very honest discussion between friends, and I’ll be forever grateful to people like him.”

For a different take on gratitude, one only needs to surf Kardinal’s Instagram account to see the rapper in the heart of Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, surrounded by thousands of fellow revelers celebrating the Raptors’ Game Six championship win on June 13, 2019. Pop star Jessie Reyez and local super-producer Rich Kidd are seen celebrating along with Kardi in one post. Kardinal has also proposed a giant free Raptors victory party featuring himself and the likes of Drake, Tory Lanez, The Weeknd, Nav, Justin Bieber, and Daniel Caesar. That Toronto’s music community would back the Raptors in their finest moment seems entirely natural to someone who’s been doing it for the entire history of franchise.

“We’ve been supporting them the entire way,” says Kardi, “so a win for them is a win for us in a way.”



March 24, 2016 was a watershed moment for the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The franchise was in a youth-centric rebuild, complete with requisite experience-gaining losses.

On this night, though, there were signs of a brighter future. The Leafs would push the playoff-bound Anaheim Ducks with a dramatic 6-5 overtime victory at the Scotiabank Arena (then known as Air Canada Centre). Emerging star defender Morgan Rielly had two points, then-rookies Zach Hyman, Garret Sparks and William Nylander earned valuable time, and homegrown forward Nazeem Kadri scored two goals, including the winner.

Best, perhaps, was that the official Leafs goal song at that time – “Feeling Good” by Saskatoon rockers The Sheepdogs – blasted throughout the arena six different times.

In the strange universe where sports and the music that gets played in arenas and stadiums meet, a goal — or touchdown, or home run — hold a special spot. They bind a team’s supporters to a joyous, positive sonic experience that can often stay with fans for years, or even decades. But a “goal” song is just one of many kinds of signature music that gets played at Leafs games. An average Leafs game will have 80 or so whistle-stoppages through its 60 minutes of play, on top of 17-minute breaks between periods, and a 16-minute pre-game warmup. This makes for a lot of music to cue up for the 18,800 fans at each Leafs game, and every song is meticulously curated by team staff.

“Across all of our teams, music is so important,” says Anton Wright, Director of Game Presentation for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). “We use music to motivate the players, music engages our fans, and it connects to each and every fan. We choose music that we know our players are going to enjoy, and that motivates them, and music for each situation… we want our music to connect to the moment, each and every time.”

Anton, a full-time staff of 25, and  game day staff that can reach into the hundreds manage everything that happens in the building (besides the players playing the game), for the various MLSE teams, including the Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argos, Toronto FC, Toronto Marlies, and Raptors 905. Central to every one of these games is music.

For Leafs games Wright, and Leafs game day DJ Cale Granton, create pools of songs which can be cued up to match specific in-game events. Besides obvious things like goal and victory songs, there are songs the Leafs use for things like referee reviews, songs to signal the end of intermissions, songs for when opponents get penalties. Throughout a season, songs will get swapped in and out of these situational playlists. If the crowd responds well to a song, it stays. If they don’t, staff look for something else in that spot.

Play-by-Play: How much does a song earn?
Payments for use of songs used at games in hockey arenas vary widely because of the sizes of the venues, the number of songs used, the number of times the song is used, and other variables. In 2017, the average annual license fees collected from 20,000-seat arenas in Canada was in the low six figures (more than $100,000), and the amount earned per work played – which is sub-divided from the fees collected, according to the total duration of each work, and various other calculations – was in the low four figures (from $1,000 to $5,000).

An ever-changing playlist of EDM, hip-hop, and uptempo pop gets played during Leafs warmups, while locals-made-good like Drake and Shawn Mendes, and stadium all-timers like Guns n’ Roses, AC/DC, Pitbull, and Eminem, usually get cued up every game. Then there are the classics. The Tragically Hip’s “Fifty Mission Cap” gets played at every Saturday Leafs game. So does Arkells’ “Saturday Night.” And at every Leafs tilt, Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song.” “We play that every single game. It’s a great ritual,” says Wright of Connors’ 1973 ode.

Acts who’ve been played at Scotiabank Arena certainly know their value. Hamilton soul-rockers Arkells have had “Saturday Night,” “Knocking at the Door,” “People’s Champ,” “Oh, The Boss is Coming!,” and a number of other songs played at Leafs and Raptors games. Sports placements are never top-of-mind when trying to write songs, but they’re certainly considered afterwards.

“We’re not ever writing something with the hope that it ends up in a certain spot in culture,” says Arkells lead singer Max Kerman. “But as we’re getting towards the finish line, we’re getting jacked on the song, and we’re playing a song real loud in the studio, the first thing my mind goes to is how it’s going to feel live, and after that it’s, ‘OH! this could be somebody’s first dance song,’ or ‘This could be played at a hockey game,’ or ‘This could be on somebody’s running playlist,’ or something.”

Having a popular sports jam can also sometimes lead to moments of perfect serendipity. The same year that the Leafs were using The Sheepdogs’ “Feeling Good” as their goal song, the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team also used it as their victory song. Sheepdogs lead singer Ewan Currie attended a lot of Jays games, and got to experience some strong mic-drop moments. “I’d be sitting in the stadium, and when they’d record the final out, I’d go, ‘Hit my theme music,’ and of course the song would come on,” says Currie. “That felt pretty good.”

While those moments clearly feel good, they also have business value, not only in royalties, but exposure. “That’s been a very conscious piece of our business,” says Max Kerman. “If the song ends up in a TV show, or on the radio, or in a sports montage, or in the arena, that’s just a great opportunity for new ears, and for new people to hear you.”

USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) had their 2014 single “Yin Yang” adopted by the Edmonton Oilers, and more recently used by Sportsnet as their official NHL playoff theme song during game broadcasts. If the actual dollar value of such things remains unclear, their strategic value does.

“Placements give new life to music, and it also becomes a current talking point,” says USS DJ Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons. “You definitely notice that streaming numbers go up. Also, going into the 2019 summer festival season, we almost got this universal advertisement before we even play any shows. It definitely lends itself to some bigger opportunities.”

The business benefits are secondary to MLSE, though. Their goal is to create an entertaining experience — one with a specific outcome. “We hope that the music is motivating for our players,” says Wright. “I hope it happens every single game, where we’re doing that for our players, because that’s part of the job… motivating the guys for that big win.”