While music has provided invaluable spiritual help to get Canadians through the pandemic, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on musicians who rely on in-person concerts and touring to help sustain their livelihood. Today, SOCAN announced an expanded program to enable music creators and publishers to earn more of what they deserve from online performances.

SOCAN members will now be able to receive royalties from both free and ticketed online concerts on more digital platforms. Both “performance” and “reproduction” rights royalties will be paid for, respectively, one-time live digital broadcasts and copies of music.

The permanent change replaces SOCAN’s well received “Encore” initiative launched last May in which royalties were paid for live performances on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram.

“Over the past year, online concerts have become an essential way for SOCAN members to connect with their fans and earn income,” said Jennifer Brown, Interim-CEO of SOCAN. “Our expanded distribution will return more royalties to those who have rightfully earned them for their work, helping music creators and publishers through this difficult period.”

For qualifying free online concerts, including those on Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube and Twitch, $75 will be distributed. This applies to all setlists provided and to a maximum of 30 concerts per quarter per performer. The funds will be distributed to the music creator and publisher rightsholders of the music performed. More digital platforms will be added as they become licensed with SOCAN.

For paid/ticketed online concerts on any digital platform, performance royalties will be distributed to rights holders as they would be for in-person concerts. Reproduction royalties will begin to be distributed later in 2021. The new online concert distribution rules will remain in effect post-pandemic.

“Even when the time comes to welcome the return of in-person live performances, online concerts will continue to be an important source of music creators and publishers’ royalties, as our members realize new ways to bring their invaluable music to all to enjoy,” Brown added.

SOCAN members can submit their online performances the same way they’ve submitted in-person concerts in the past, using the Notice of Live Music Performance form in their SOCAN member accounts. Any royalties distributed will appear in the concert distributions section of their statements. For more information on how to submit online livestream concerts, members can visit http://www.socan.com/get-set-get-paid/. We hope this expansion of platforms within the new online concert distribution rule allows our members to benefit even more from sharing their incredible talent online. As always, if members have any questions, they can contact us at members@socan.com.

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) will induct the 54.40 song “I Go Blind” with a live virtual presentation to lead singer Neil Osborne, airing on Breakfast Television, on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

The Canadian hit and SOCAN Classic song, written and recorded by the Vancouver alt-rock band, enjoyed success twice: the first time as recorded and released by the group in 1986, and the second time a decade later when a cover by Hootie & The Blowfish unexpectedly became a Billboard Top Five hit.

“Although the song’s meaning has taken on different significance for each generation, its anti-apathy message and challenge to seek truth and purpose continues to resonate in 2021,” said Vanessa Thomas, CSHF Executive Director.  “‘I Go Blind’ was embraced by Canadians when it was released in 1986, but the global popularity that Hootie & The Blowfish gave to the song helped to shine a deserving spotlight on its lyrics and great song writing.”

“I Go Blind,” written by 54.40 members Neil Osborne, Philip Comparelli, Brad Merritt, and Darryl Neudorf, continues to enjoy success, with a delightful rootsy re-recording appearing on 54.40’s 2016 unplugged album La Difference.

54.40 was signed by Warner/Reprise Records, but the label disappointingly chose to distribute “I Go Blind” in Canada only, in 1986.  Undeterred, 54.40 forged on with other projects, steadily increasing their fan base and album sales over the ensuing decade. Then, “I Go Blind” found a new lease on life, when in 1994 Hootie & The Blowfish recorded a faithful cover as the B-side to the single “Hold My Hand.” After this version was featured on the hit television sitcom Friends and the show’s soundtrack album, it skyrocketed to the top of the charts.

By February 1997, “I Go Blind” was charting on not just one, but several Billboard charts. It peaked at No. 2 Adult Top 40 and hit No. 13 (Hot 100), No. 17 (Mainstream Top 40 Airplay) and No. 22 (Adult Contemporary), and reached No. 13 on Canada’s RPM chart. The royalties enabled 54.40 to build their own Vancouver recording studio. It also appeared on Hootie & The Blowfish’s Scattered, Smothered and Covered album in 2000.

Formed in 1981 in Vancouver, 54.40 has had a string of Gold and Platinum albums, a B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame Star, and has been inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. The band has won two West Coast Music Awards, two SOCAN Classic Song Awards,  and several JUNO nominations.

For a SOCAN member who wants to reach audiences beyond Canada’s borders, being selected for a showcase in front of international delegates, at a festival like M for Montréal, is an opportunity not to be missed. It’s not always easy to make a good first impression, however, and you have to consider several aspects so that your performance attracts foreign ears, and maximizes your chances to generate enough interest to yield invitations to perform abroad. Isabelle Ouimet, Executive Producer of M for Montréal, shares some of her precious advice.