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.