Monique LeyracOne of the greatest Francophone artists of her generation passed away from heart failure at the age of 91, early on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Monique Leyrac sang songs penned by the greatest songwriters: Charles Aznavour, Gilles Vigneault, Claude Léveillée, Michel Conte, Émile Nelligan, Félix Leclerc, Luc Plamondon, and many more. The grande dame of Québec music was the first Québecoise artist to shine internationally, which paved the way for many of our local creators.

Whether it was on the Radio-Canada show Pleins Feux, or when she was on The Ed Sullivan Show, onstage in Québec or at Toronto’s Massey Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Paris Olympia, and even in Russia, Monique Leyrac’s immense talent as a singer was always at the service of her writer and composer colleagues.

On Oct. 16, 2017, she was honoured at the SOCAN Gala in Montréal with the Special Achievement Award, for her entire body of work. She received the award from one of her biggest fans, and one of the greatest Francophone lyricists of his generation, Luc Plamondon.

“I am privileged to have met her when SOCAN presented her with the Special Achievement Award in 2017,” said Geneviève Côté, SOCAN Chief of Québec Affairs and Visual Arts. “We had to honour this artist, who chose to put her immense talent at the service of our songwriters. She made us laugh and stole the show that night. I think she actually did that every time she walked onto a stage.”

Below is a video of her charming speech, one of the highlights of the 28th SOCAN Gala in Montréal.

SOCAN pays homage to this great lady of song, and offers our sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones.

SOCAN is encouraged to learn that the Federal Government will follow-up on its intention to introduce by December 2020 new legislation on discoverability for tech giants.

New mandate letters released December 13 to the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Canadian Heritage Minister, and to the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science & Industry, confirmed that the government has tasked them to introduce legislation that will take appropriate actions ensuring all content providers, including internet giants, offer significant levels of Canadian content in their catalogues, add to the creation of Canadian content, promote this content and make it easily accessible on their respective platforms.

These mandate letters also charged both ministers to modernize the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act, exploring how best to support Canadian content in English and French while ensuring quality and affordable internet, mobile and media access. It also asked them to review the Copyright Act, which among other things should ensure that private copying levies are payable on both blank audio recording media such as CDs and devices such as smart phones and tablets.

“SOCAN has long advocated that the Copyright Act and other regulatory measures should be amended to make sure music creators receive fair compensation for their work,” said Eric Baptiste, CEO of SOCAN. “And while we recognize and understand the current political landscape in Ottawa, we nevertheless sincerely hope all parties will work together to support new legislation designed to strengthen copyright and cultural industry protection in Canada and also increase and promote Canadian Content.”

Meeting the December 2020 target is imperative and doing so will require immediate action by the federal government and all stakeholders. SOCAN is at the ready and pledges to continue to collaborate with all interested parties to find more ways to support creators across Canada.

SOCAN has expressed its concern for the rights of screen composers following disconcerting revelations by major media companies in the United States revelations from media companies that would deprive composers of their right to royalties and dramatically lower their income.

The rights management organization has urged others to join the movement to protect composers’ right to be compensated fairly for their extraordinarily valuable work, notably by becoming part of the Your Music, Your Future community.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our thousands of screen composer members,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “The right of composers to be compensated fairly must be protected and upheld.”

Baptiste added that SOCAN will continue work with the Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC), La Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ) as well as with the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) to support their efforts to make a fair living through the creation of music that elevates the audience experience and intrinsic value of movies, television shows and commercials.

“SOCAN is committed to continuing to bring the concerns of screen composers to the fore with elected and appointed government officials, industry and the public at large,” Baptiste concluded.