SOCAN announced today that it is expanding its efforts to provide financial assistance to struggling members as a result of the COVID-19 crisis by allocating up to a total of $2-million for emergency royalty advances.

The program is based on information gained from discussions with numerous SOCAN members. It’s primarily aimed at SOCAN’s songwriters and screen composers whose ability to sustain their income has been compromised by the impact of the crisis on the music industry, especially on those whose concerts have been cancelled, or whose television and movie productions have been suspended. The interest-free advances will be considered based on each member’s most recent earnings history, urgency, and need.

“SOCAN has our members’ backs,” said Eric Baptiste, CEO of SOCAN. “Getting funds to struggling members as soon as possible is of the utmost importance, and we will do whatever we can to help. We have a long history of supporting our members in time of need.”

Each individual application will be considered on its own. SOCAN already provides royalty advances to thousands of deserving creator and publisher members every year as part of its commitment to nurturing the careers of Canada’s music creators. Domestic music publisher members are able to access support as well.

Members who’ve been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and wish to apply for the program  should contact SOCAN’s Membership team at 1-866-307-6226, or by email at

Priority will be given to SOCAN members who are faced with a loss in live performance royalties, or screen composers whose productions have been suspended.

The interest-free advance program will be followed by additional support initiatives, to be announced in due course as needs are better identified.

As one of the leaders in the Canadian music ecosystem, SOCAN is in pro-active contact with all relevant levels of government to draw their attention to the need of music people and businesses to benefit from all general economic relief programs and to consider specific programs for music, as one of the highly impacted sectors. While SOCAN and others will do their parts, the crisis is on a scale that only governments can mitigate.

SOCAN collects license payments from businesses that use recorded and live music. It then identifies the music that was used to those who hold the rights to it and distributes what they have earned in regular royalty payments.

SOCAN will announce additional programs designed to assist its members through the crisis as they are determined.

This opinion piece written by SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste, was uploaded to La Presse tablet and website on Apr. 3, 2020.

SOCAN, CEO, Eric BaptisteIn trying times, more than ever, music matters.

Canada, with most of the rest of the world, is stepping up to deal with the COVID-19 situation.

Music might not be the first thing on the minds of concerned Canadians, but, as it often does, music will play an essential background role in helping us to cope.

The millions of citizens now working from home can soothe any anxieties with music. Whether streamed, downloaded, over the airwaves or even on vinyl, our personal playlists will be a soundtrack for the situation.

One of the greatest things about Canada is that our country is a respectful, open, and welcoming one. We should never forget that. It makes us very special, but this is a time to rally around community and country. Paradoxically, by being told to stay apart we will actually get closer together, as we become united in the common goal of vanquishing this virus. And music bridges us through these troubled times.

As Canadians, we identify with and rally around the arts. Made-in-Canada music will be more important than ever to foster the pride of our people. When we hear the uplifting songs of Drake, Gordon Lightfoot, Marie-Mai, The Weeknd, Luc Plamondon, Joni Mitchell, Hubert Lenoir, Shawn Mendes, or Grimes, to name only a few, or the glorious compositions and scores of Mychael Danna, Leslie Barber, Alexandra Stréliski, or Keith Power, our hearts surge with common joy and pride.

Canada’s music brings Canada’s people together, truer and stronger.

Citizens will gather around the CBC or Radio Canada or other media to receive their reliable news. Canada turns to them, and so, too, should radio and television turn to made-in-Canada content to bind us even tighter as a country.

Our live music might go on hiatus as we avoid crowds, but eventually we will return to joyful and powerfully emotional concerts. We will rally together, and music will certainly continue to help us to heal, just as it did after the SARS crisis, and always has in times of need.

While many of Canada’s music makers will miss the revenues from paying gigs, we can perhaps help them to replace lost funds by playing their music even more. At home. On radio. On streaming services. In the car. Wherever you need music to help you through the times. Our benefitting from their music should be of benefit to them, too. They’re helping you, so it’s only right that all of us, in our small ways, help them in return.

Music might not be the first thing we think of in these troubling times, but it is certainly one of the most powerful tools we have to help us through this crisis. Our music creators will inevitably reach deep into their souls to capture the muse that emerges when emotions are raw, and answers are few.

History shows us that the creative arts perhaps counter-intuitively thrive in times of trouble. Through the harrows or wartime, new art almost always emerges in new and surprising ways. I fully hope, and even expect, that Canada’s music creators will find their muse even more than usual to express themselves through their work.

Canadian music holds value, bearing a gift beyond price. To Canadians, but increasingly, to everyone around the world

Put music on. Keep it on. And let’s keep on keeping on.

Eric Baptiste is CEO of SOCAN, the largest organization in the Canadian music ecosystem. SOCAN represents the rights of nearly 170,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists.

SOCAN member John Nathaniel, along with Ryan Tedder and Brent Kutzle of the band OneRepublic, has co-written and co-produced the group’s song “Better Days,” which will help out musicians and artists during these tough times by raising funds in partnership with Spotify.

OneRepublic are donating a portion of the proceeds from the Spotify streaming of “Better Days,” through September 2020, to benefit MusiCares, which has established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help those in the music community affected by the ongoing global health crisis.

Nathaniel has worked closely with OneRepublic in recent years, on the singles “Didn’t I” – which the band performed on The Tonight Show: At Home Edition on March 30;  “Rescue Me,” which is certified Gold in the U.S.; and “Wanted.” He also co-produced and mixed the band’s “Somebody To Love,” which was featured on the hit NBC show Songland.

Nathaniel has earned the 2017 SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Award (Montréal), as well as six SOCAN No. 1 Song Awards, co-writing, producing, and mixing all of the winning songs, for artists such as Marc Dupré, Alexe Gaudreault, and Brandon Mig. He’s had more than 25 songs reach the Top 10 in the Top 100 radio charts, and more than 70 songs in the Top 100 in the past few years.