For several years now, the A&R Team at SOCAN has been one of the first points of contact for members to develop new relationships with us, nurture existing ones, and receive information about our core member benefits. The team has been re-imagined, and consequently re-named “Creative” (effective January 1, 2022), with Kathryn Hamilton now serving as Director, Creative Operations & Programming, and Michael Asante and Houtan Hodania now serving as Creative Executives.  Sara Dendane has been promoted to Creative & Partnerships Executive, Quebec.

“We’re constantly evolving, with the changing needs of our members and clients as our primary driver,” said Vanessa Thomas, Vice President, Member & Industry Relations. “A&R is just a part of what the Creative team does. The recruitment element doesn’t encompass all the creative activities they perform.  If you look at Global PROs their Creative teams are either ‘Creatives’ or ‘Membership.’”

Kathryn Hamilton will work with Thomas on the overall operational and strategic direction of the Creative Team. Kathryn joined SOCAN in 2016 and has played a vital role, overseeing three SOCAN Awards shows, programming that includes a host of No. 1 SOCAN Song Awards celebrations, and song camps and partnerships across Canada. Michael Asante was promoted to Creative Executive, Rap and R&B, and Houtan Hodania to Creative Executive, Vancouver.  Both joined SOCAN in the last three years and have demonstrated incredible and deep network connections.  Sara Dendane will expand her role to assist with key Québec partnerships, as she has vast experience in this area.

In addition, we’ve adjusted the titles for SOCAN staff  on the Creative team to more accurately reflect their roles, moving forward:

  • Maria Escamilla, Creative Programming & Partnerships Co-ordinator
  • Gagan Singh, Creative Executive, Film/TV, Visual Media
  • Racquel Villagante, Creative Executive, Los Angeles

Stephanie Falco’s Québec Events Manager title remains unchanged.

Thomas is also recruiting for a new vital team member, at the Director level, who will work with Kathryn to manage the Creative team.

SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown, along with many of the organization’s Vice Presidents and department heads, addressed more than 100 Anglophone and Francophone music publishers of all kinds for two separate online Town Hall meetings, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, 2021 – during which we provided key information and updates on distributions, royalty collections, and our financial situation, and answered questions.

SOCAN Chief Financial Officer Rob Bennett disclosed that for our 2021 results, we’re forecasting a solid increase in overall collections and domestic revenue, a new record for total revenue, and looking at  various opportunities to continue to optimize our operating expenses.

James Leacock, SOCAN Director, Domestic Royalty Collections, discussed new developments in licensing digital audio-visual services, music streaming services, and online concert platforms (especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic). He also talked about new services being licensed, including major home-fitness, gaming, and TV streaming companies.

Leslie Craig, SOCAN Vice President, Royalty Services, talked about new distribution rule changes in digital services, radio, internet, and online audio-visual services – the last two growing significantly in 2021 – that will benefit our members.

Andrea Kokonis, SOCAN’s Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, said that we’re expecting the federal government to re-introduce amendments to the Broadcasting Act, which will allow us to continue advocating for 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.

We also introduced the publishers to SOCAN’s new Membership Department team: Vanessa Thomas, Vice President, Member & Industry Relations; Chief Membership Officer Jean-Christian Céré; and in a new role, longtime SOCAN manager Stephanie Kornhaber, now our Director, Member Services.

Céré said that SOCAN needs to get back to basics to serve members even better, and address their concerns using the necessary resources. Thomas mentioned that we’re hiring new staff, and outlined our plans for 2022, while Kornhaber discussed a new survey strategy aiming to capture data at every touchpoint in the SOCAN member journey, that can then be used to serve them even better.

Other SOCAN personnel presenting info at the meetings were Martin Lavallée, Senior Legal Counsel and Head of Reproduction Rights;. Kit Wheeler, Vice-President, Royalty Collections; Alan Triger, Head of Strategic Solutions & Analytics; Alec MacLachlan, Manager, SOCAN Analytics; and Daryl Hamilton, Operations & Project Lead, Membership.

In answering questions from the publishers, we explained that a change in the weighting of background music cues doesn’t allow SOCAN to collect more revenue, but shifts how the revenue is allocated; that returning the “statement preview” function in the SOCAN member portal is a priority item ; and that members’ statements do report separate performance rights and reproduction rights royalties.

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!

Formed in 2016, the Haisla Nation hip-hop duo Snotty Nose rez Kids, from Kitimat, B.C. – composed of rappers Yung Trybez (Quinton Nyce) and Young D (Darren Metz) – have won both Best Hip-Hop Artist and Breakout Artist at the Western Canadian Music Awards; have been shortlisted twice, back-to-back, for the Polaris Prize; and have earned a JUNO Award nomination. Now they’re starting to swim in the mainstream, with coverage in the Toronto Star and on the CTV National News, and headlining performances in the U.S.

In a video interview with SOCAN just after the release of their new album Life After, SNRK talk about surviving the past few years, how their personal is automatically political, and following in the footsteps of giants.

(Originally posted in December 2021)