Current broadcasting laws and regulations were designed for radio and television. While these rules have been effective, foreign digital platforms have zero obligations to support and promote Canadian creators, even to Canadian audiences. Reforming the Broadcasting Act is a necessary step to strengthening Canadian songwriters and composers’ place within Canada and supporting Canadian music in a digital world.

This article continues to explain SOCAN’s advocacy efforts to reform the Broadcasting Act. The previous articles in this series can be read here and here.

If the Broadcasting Act is reformed to extend to online broadcasting undertakings, what does that do for SOCAN songwriters and composers? Let’s take the best-case scenario that distributions from online broadcasters match the distributions from traditional broadcasters.

As you’ll recall from our previous two articles, for every dollar collected from traditional broadcasters, around 34 cents are distributed to SOCAN songwriter and composer members, whereas for every dollar collected from digital broadcasters, only around 10 cents remain in Canada.

Below is a chart setting out the actual distributions from online broadcasters to SOCAN songwriter and composer members, and the hypothetical distribution if online broadcasters matched the distribution percentage of traditional broadcasters.

Online Media, Hypothetical Scenario versus Actual Scenario, by Year



















From this chart we see that SOCAN songwriter and composer members received $11.8M in royalties from 2015 to 2020, but they would have received $39.8M in royalties (around 337% more) if digital broadcasting undertakings operated under the same regulatory regime as traditional broadcasting undertakings.

Granted, this hypothetical has its flaws. Traditional broadcasters generally “push” content out to consumers. In contrast, digital broadcasters are often interactive, don’t follow a fixed schedule, and allow consumers to “pull” content on-demand. With such different business models, it may not be possible or advisable to regulate digital services in the same way as traditional services.

But that doesn’t mean these services cannot be regulated. Without broadcasting regulations, Canadian songwriters and composers face an existential crisis when a key revenue stream – performing rights royalties – decreases up to 69% in the transition from traditional to digital sources.


Words & Music is pleased to continue its helpful “how-to” video series for our members, “The Breakdown.”

 Music supervisors are the people whose job is to decide what songs will be licensed and used in  TV shows, movies, streaming, and online productions. In this episode, Vanessa Thomas, SOCAN Vice President, Member & Industry Relations,  asks seasoned music supervisor Michael Perlmutter (President, Canadian Guild of Music Supervisors), “What’s the best advice for how to approach a music supervisor?”

Click on the image to watch the video

Click on the image to watch the video

The SOCAN Foundation today announced the five recipients of the 2021 SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards, created to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Black music creators: Falana, IDMAN, Jon Vinyl, Maurice Moore, and Shopé, each of whom will receive $5,000, made possible by SiriusXM Canada.

New this year, five Special Distinctions awards of $1,000 each were presented as well, to B.ROB, Haviah Mighty, Liza, Lu Kala, and Shad.

To learn more about all of the 2021 winners, click here.

“This award is an opportunity to highlight Black creators. I’m happy to have been a part of the Black Canadian Awards since its inception [in 2020], and am thrilled to continue to see such incredible talent come through the submissions,” said Keziah Myers, Executive Director at ADVANCE Music Canada and Award jury member. “This year’s winners are bringing fresh sounds to the industry, and we are ecstatic to see them honoured in this space [through SOCAN Foundation].” Myers was part of the SOCAN Foundation committee that created the Black Canadian Music Awards, and has also served as a jury member for the last two years.

Winners were selected, from hundreds of applications, by a jury and advisory council of prominent Black artists and industry leaders: Jordan Sowunmi (Lead, Music Editorial and Content Strategy at TikTok); Kentya Kurban (Community Engagement Co-ordinator at Music BC Industry Association); the aforementioned Keziah Myers; Michael Assante (Creative Executive, Rap and R&B, at SOCAN); Owen Lee (artist, singer-songwriter, musician, vocal director); Vivian Barclay (Managing Director at Warner Chappell Music Canada); and Widney Bonfils (Director, A&R at Universal Music Canada).

“We’d like to extend a sincere congratulations to all the incredibly talented and deserving winners of this year’s Awards,” said Kayla J. Schwartz, Senior Manager, Communications & Canadian Content Development at SiriusXM. “We’re so proud to continue partnering with the SOCAN Foundation on spotlighting Black creators in Canada and can’t wait to see what’s next for this year’s recipients”.

For more information about the SOCAN Foundation, please visit