SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown, along with several of the organization’s Vice Presidents and department heads, addressed more than 100 music publishers of all kinds for two separate online Town Hall meetings, for Anglophones on Jan. 17 and Francophones on Jan. 19, 2023 – during which we provided key information and updates on Membership Department activities, our work maximizing royalties, and improvements to data & technology, and then answered questions.

At both meetings, Chief Membership Officer Jean-Christian Céré spoke about his team, new hires, and reiterated his goal of getting back to our core activities: royalty collection and distribution. Céré also described our efforts to improve service quality, data collection and processing, and committed to ensuring that SOCAN responds more quickly to publishers’ questions. “The results of our efforts are already being felt, but there’s still much work to be done,” he said at the Jan. 19 gathering.

SOCAN Chief Financial Officer Rob Bennett disclosed that for our 2022 results, we’re seeing a solid increase in overall performing and reproduction rights collections and domestic revenue, and huge increases in digital revenue, and looking at various opportunities to continue to optimize our operating expenses.

Leslie Craig, SOCAN’s Vice President of Royalty Services, spoke about the technical improvements to the portal reporting process and the increased efficiency in processing recordings through CISAC’s harmonized cue sheet, for automatic ingestion into our systems that will benefit all our members.

Alan Triger, Head of Strategic Solutions & Analytics, talked about the work that’s been done and continues to be done on the online  member portal, data cleanup of duplicates that are part of the backlog, and of the work to improve and strengthen royalty statements. Daryl Hamilton, Manager of Operations and Projects for the Membership department, said that the priority was to improve systems and communication with publishers.

At the Jan. 17 meeting, Andrea Kokonis, SOCAN’s Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, said that the Supreme Court of Canada recently  agreed with SOCAN on the making available right for streaming and downloading, giving copyright owners the ability for greater control their work on those platforms. She talked about pursuing agreements for audio post-synchronization for film, TV online, and digital, and our continuing work to license TikTok. Kokonis mentioned that Bill C-11 – which includes regulations to oblige digital media companies to showcase and recommend Canadian and Francophone music, and to participate in financial support programs that help foster its creation – passed in the House of Commons in 2022, and is now being amended in the Senate.

In answering questions from the publishers, we explained the decrease in pay audio royalties; how we’ll be working in 2023 on a single login  for publishers who represent multiple member accounts; and our work on making song update requests and submissions achievable by publishers themselves through the site.

At the Jan. 19 meeting, In response to questions on issues related to the portal, Jean-Christian Céré emphasized that a lot of effort has been made, and will continue to be made to improve the process of resolving problems encountered in this period of technological transition, with the goal of having a real impact on the user experience. He also committed to re-evaluate the resource requirements for audio-visual synchronization licenses, and the audiovisual sector in general, at the account executive level. Martin Lavallée, Senior Legal Counsel and Head of Reproduction Rights, summarized current and upcoming efforts to update our system, increase its capacity, and improve royalty reporting to provide more detail. “Our goal is to revolutionize our royalties statements in 2023,” he said.

It’s in these constructive, transparent exchanges that we continue to provide a level of service that reaches, and exceeds, the expectations of our publisher members.

Thanks to all of our music publishers who attended the events!