Parliament Hill in Ottawa was rockin’ on the evening of May 14, 2019, as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, and more than 300 Members of Parliament, Senators, and government staff, attended SOCAN’s fifth annual Parliamentary reception.

This year, the party was held at the Chateau Laurier hotel, because the usual location – the East Block Courtyard of The Senate – was closed for renovations. SOCAN’s event has become one of the most popular of the year on Parliament Hill, where federal officials learn more about SOCAN, enjoy drinks and passed appetizers, and listen to live and recorded music from our members.

This year Brett Kissel performed in person, representing our English-speaking community of music creators, while Les sœurs Boulay played on behalf of our Francophone membership. Each offered several songs, and talked about the need to keep copyright strong, and how crucial SOCAN is to their livelihood – and to those of our nearly 160,000 members.

Among the SOCAN representatives who met with decision-making officials – not only at the reception, but in several other sessions and meetings while in Ottawa – were SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste; President and Chair of SOCAN’s Board of Directors Marc Ouellette; SOCAN executives Andrew Berthoff, Jennifer Brown, Geneviève Côté, Gilles Daigle, Jeff King, Andrea Kokonis, and Diane Petrucci; and SOCAN Board members Vivian Barclay, Patrick Curley, Damhnait Doyle, Ed Henderson, Past President Stan Meissner, Jennifer  Mitchell, Glenn Morley, Past President Earl Rosen, Diane Tell, and Denis Wolff.

The leaders of several Canadian music industry and rights organizations were in attendance as well, including representatives from the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, RE:SOUND, the Canadian Live Music Association, and the Canadian Private Copying Collective.

The event focused on the cultural and economic impact of SOCAN members in the domestic market, and provided SOCAN with an important forum to emphasize the value that our songwriters, composers, #ComposersWhoScore, and music publishers bring to the global economy as well. The reception also allowed us to present our policy positions in an informal setting, to a wide range of politicians, decision-makers, and their advisors.

“The world of music is changing with the arrival of new technologies,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “That’s why we look forward to the reports of the INDU and CHPC committees and we hope that there will be solutions put forward by the government to improve the conditions of creators. We are also following very closely the work of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review panel…It is up to you, elected officials, political staff, and public servants, to make sure that we can still hum our home-grown melodies in the future. We count on you.”

SOCAN’s Board of Directors President and Chair Marc Ouellette said, “SOCAN is Canada’s largest music rights management organization with more than 160,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers, and now visual artists as our direct members…Our executive team is gender-balanced, and our Board of Directors is close to gender parity. We are proud of the fact that 60% of our staff and the majority of our new members are women.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez; The Honourable Steven Blaney, Conservative Shadow Minister for Canadian Heritage; Pierre Nantel, NDP Critic Canadian Heritage; Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary  for the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism; and Senator Terry Mercer all spoke of the important work that SOCAN does.

SOCAN’s efforts to communicate with our federal government, and the three major political parties, continue to pay off for our members.

SOCAN has released SOCAN: For the Record, a new video that illustrates how our members create music, their careers in action, and how we collect and distribute their royalties.

First launched in March at the 2019 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards presented by SOCAN, the two-minute story-in-motion is now available for all to enjoy.

SOCAN: For the Record follows several SOCAN members as they write, record, and launch their music, which makes its way around the world, with SOCAN tracking, collecting, and returning their well-earned royalties.

The video stars SOCAN members Sydanie, Command Sisters, Thompson Egbo-Egbo, Dr. Draw, and Steph Copeland, creating and capturing their music, hitting the Send or Enter key to release or upload it, then follows various paths the music takes, along with royalty-collecting statistics, in an animated sequence.

We hope you enjoy SOCAN: For the Record!

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage tabled in the House of Commons its Shifting Paradigms report as part of its study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries to propose recommendations related to the statutory review of the Copyright Act.

On first reading, SOCAN is satisfied with the Committee’s recommendations, particularly with respect to extending the term of copyright protection (Recommendation 7), better regulating certain exceptions (Recommendation 15) and also creating a Resale Right in Canada (Recommendation 22).

Other recommendations from the music community are also well received by SOCAN, which has supported them. In the study undertaken by the Committee, the ecosystem of Canadian creators has indeed combined to join forces in order to achieve improvements that would benefit all Canadian creators.

“Now that the report is tabled, we hope the responsible Ministers will take note of the recommendations and implement them in the near future,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “These recommendations reflected an effort that transcends partisan affiliations and represents a growing consensus for the need to strengthen the growth of the Canadian creative ecosystem.”

SOCAN, however, regrets the lack of a recommendation to make the private copying regime technologically neutral – an omission even more incomprehensible, since the demand was commonly shared by all players in the music community.

SOCAN would like to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for their work over the last few months.