SOCAN held an online town hall meeting with representatives of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC) to strengthen our relationship with the Canadian community of screen composers. The Toronto gathering was held online, on August 26, 2020, moderated by SOCAN’s Paul Stillo, Senior Account Executive, and Lea Faradian, Account Executive, and attended by our Chief Membership and Business Development Officer Michael McCarty, and Vice-President, A&R and Membership, Rodney Murphy. There was a healthy dialogue between SOCAN and SCGC representatives, with many pre-submitted, and a few live, questions from the attendees, and answers from our executives.

SOCAN’s Kit Wheeler, Vice-President, Licensing, explained that SOCAN anticipates an 11 percent decline in domestic revenues, and a similar, moderate decline in cable and TV revenues, and substantial growth still continuing in digital revenues – all because of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent self-isolation regulations. She also discussed how SOCAN is advocating for a greater market share of digital revenues going to Canadian content creators.

SOCAN’s James Leacock, Manager, Media, talked about the way in which Netflix determines the royalty rate it pays out to performing rights organizations, which we’re looking to increase. Leslie Craig, SOCAN Vice-President, Distribution, discussed how it’s a top priority to create greater visibility for our screen composers’ music, and how our technology is currently working to try to accomplish that, and to clear our backlogs of screen composers’ royalties.

SOCAN Senior Legal Counsel Martin Lavallée explained how to sign up to SOCAN for reproduction rights royalties, how to work most effectively in that domain, and how SOCAN has become the only music rights organization collecting reproduction rights royalties on broadcast incidental copies.

SOCAN International Account Manager Connor Chapman discussed our continuing rise in international revenues, up until COVID hit. Because of the lag time between the reporting of performances and the payment of royalties, the decline due to COVID will likely be felt in 2021. Performing rights organizations worldwide are forecasting somewhere between a five and 30 percent drop, which is expected to hit especially hard in Europe. SOCAN is in touch with our counterparts worldwide to stay apprised of the situation.

SOCAN’s James Freeman, Director, Corporate Finance & Development, said that screen composers will likely see the decline in royalty revenue begin in February of 2021, with the low point expected in summer of that year, and recovery anticipated by February 2022. SOCAN’s Tobi Akinwumi, SOCAN Product Manager, Member Digital Products,  spoke about the upcoming redesign of our member portal, and how it’s expected to enhance and improve the experience of screen composers interacting online with SOCAN.

Michael McCarty discussed SOCAN’s plans to set up a post-member-contact survey in the new portal, and real-time tracking of behind-the-scenes tech data, both of which will improve our service. He talked about SOCAN determinedly pursuing agreements with digital distributors to benefit our members, in addition to advocating with government.  And he expressed great appreciation of the assembled SCGC representatives speaking openly with us to improve their experience with SOCAN.

SOCAN has announced its updated 2020 forecast for revenues, to enable our members to plan for their future finances. We forecast that total 2020 revenue will likely decrease by approximately 11 percent when measured against the revenue from 2019, a record year. This estimate considers all relevant information, data, research, and trend analyses.

Since our first forecast, our emergency relief royalty advances initiative has been well received, with more than $600,000 so far accessed by qualified members. Our unique Encore plan that delivers royalties to members performing live-streamed concerts on Facebook and Instagram has also seen success, providing more than $130,000 so far to help replace at least some lost gig revenue.

For the full forecast – including reports on revenues from digital/streaming, concerts/live, general/background music, TV, cable, radio, and reproduction rights – click here.

On September 28, the 2020 edition of the SiriusFM Francouvertes series – interrupted last March because of COVID-19 lockdown – is scheduled to resume. The remaining preliminary round nights will be presented on Sept. 28, 29, and 30. Artists Désarroi, Jeremy Lachance, La Fièvre, Kanen, thaïs, Valence, Mclean, Mille Piastres Please, and Trop Belle will finally get the chance to perform on the Lion d’Or stage. At the time this 24th edition of the contest was interrupted, Ariane Roy was heading the list, followed, in order, by Vendou, Jessy Benjamin, Narcisse, La Faune, Embo/phlébite, Aramis, Guillaume Bordel, and Petite Papa.

The artists scheduled to perform onstage at the end of September will be competing for a spot among the competition’s nine semi-finalists. The semi-finals are scheduled for Oct. 12, 13, and 14, again at Montreal’s Cabaret du Lion d’Or. We’ll then learn the names of the three finalists. who’ll be competing in the Nov. 2 final round on the Club Soda stage in Montréal.

Of course, various safety measures will be implemented to make sure that social distancing regulations are followed. People wishing to attend the various Lion d’Or performances, or listen to the streamed concerts, will be required to purchase tickets from Please note that only the audience attending the live presentations will have an opportunity to cast their votes.

The “J’aime mes ex” concert series, a SOCAN presentation generally used as an opening act, will be replaced with exclusive performances available online. Each week until the resumption of the series, Francouvertes “exes” will be performing shows that will remain online for 48 hours only, on the Francouvertes website. You’ll have an opportunity to attend a solo performance by Jipé Dalpé (Aug. 25–27), who will be followed by Louis-Jean Cormier (Sept. 1–3), Mehdi Cayenne (Sept 8–10), Laurence-Anne (Sept. 15–17), and Lou-Adriane Cassidy (Sept. 22–24).

SOCAN also sponsors the $1,000 Paroles & Musique Award, to be presented to one of the semi-finalists, to underline the songwriting talent that is the basis of good music. This cash award also comes with a one-week songwriting residency at the Paris (France) SOCAN House. Those prizes are part of a plethora of awards, grants, and concert opportunities that will be awarded once again this year.

Good luck to all the participants!