Joe Robertson helped create a dental supply firm and sold it for millions before he turned 40, and then, with his wife Anita, became a major philanthropist in Southern Ontario, generously supporting SOCAN and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, among others. The couple, both 58, and their 24-year-old daughter Laura Robertson, were killed in a plane crash in Maine on July 30, 2018, as they flew to Prince Edward Island for a vacation.

A Harvard MBA graduate, Robertson and Anita took dental supply company Arcona Health Inc. from its founding into an organization with $65 million in annual sales, and more than 900 staff, before it was sold in 1998. After the Niagara-based couple retired, they became philanthropists, supporting not only SOCAN and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, but also Brock University in St. Catharines, the United Way, and Niagara Health.

“Joe Robertson was an integral part of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame show committee and board these past 18 months,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director of the Hall of Fame. . “His passion for music and dedication to the success of our organization was so evident in everything he did for us.  We all had such respect for him, and his warmth and generosity will be terribly missed, moving forward.”

“Joe was a great friend of SOCAN,” said Michael McCarty, the organization’s Chief Membership and Business Development Officer. “He was not only a huge music fan, but more specifically, a fan and student of songs and songwriters. We invited him into the Board of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and he made a huge impact, generously donating his time, energy, business wisdom, creative ideas. He also leveraged his considerable contacts to generate tremendous sponsorship, VIP ticket revenue, and excitement for the organization.”

Joe and the Robertsons will be greatly missed. SOCAN extends its deepest condolences to their friends and extended family, and we thank them once again for their incredible support for music creation over the years.


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SOCAN member composers are invited to submit an experimental piece in any electronic music genre (acousmatic, electroacoustic, glitch, soundscape, intelligent dance music, turntable art, or video music) to the Musicworks 2018 Electronic Music Composition Contest. The juried contest spotlights new musical talent, offers a cash prize and an opportunity to be heard.

The contest entry fee is $25 CDN (with each additional entry only $5 CDN, unlimited), and includes a one-year subscription to Musicworks magazine. First prize is $500 CDN cash, a composer profile in Musicworks, Issue 133 (both in print and online), and your composition released on the Musicworks 133 CD. Second prize is $200 CDN cash and composer coverage on musicworks.ca in 2019, and third prize is $100 cash and composer coverage on musicworks.ca in 2019. The contest closes October 26, 2018.

For further 2018 Contest prize details, eligibility and assessment criteria, rules and restrictions, and entry forms, click here.


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Both organizations announced today that SOCAN’s acquisition of SODRAC has closed, enabling SOCAN to offer an integrated approach to the management of both performing rights and reproduction rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers.

The combination of SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada) and SODRAC (the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers & Publishers in Canada) is a historic moment for music rights in Canada, and broadens the choices available, notably for music publishers and self-published writers, for the licensing of the reproduction right.

For the first time in Canada, a single organization – SOCAN – will be able to license, track and distribute all royalties for both music performing rights and mechanical rights.

A transition period will result in the full integration of the organizations. Efficiencies in overhead expenses and operations will be sought and ultimately passed along for the benefit of members.

“SOCAN is thrilled to complete a made-in-Canada solution for music rights-holders in this country and worldwide,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “This transaction fits perfectly with SOCAN’s goal of leading the global transformation of music rights, and SOCAN’s past and ongoing commitment to create alliances within the Canadian music ecosystem. With the full integration of SODRAC’s assets and expansion into mechanical rights, the combination of public performance and reproduction rights increases efficiencies, leverages licensing relationships, and reduces operating costs, resulting in even more music royalties going to those who have earned them.”

“The integration of SODRAC into SOCAN is the result of many years of discussions and negotiations,” said Lise Aubut, Chair of SODRAC’s Board of Directors and co-founder of SODRAC in 1985. “Today, this concentration of energy and resources has become essential in a context where markets are globalized, copyright media is de-materialized, and the financial means necessary to defend rights in a digital world are prodigious. Music is borderless, and tracking musical works requires cutting-edge technology that provides services to a large number of music rights-holders and users.”

The integration of the management of public performance rights and reproduction rights will have many advantages, including:

  • One-stop musical works registrations.
  • More timely and accurate distributions and reduced operating costs for all rights-holder members.
  • Unified licensing for businesses using music.
  • An à la carte representation of reproduction rights for all.
  • Increased efficiencies through leveraged licensing relationships.

SODRAC’s expertise in the visual arts and crafts sector, which involves more than 40,000 creators and rights-holders, will continue within SOCAN.

The SOCAN and SODRAC teams are hard at work to bring the companies together harmoniously. SODRAC’s management team and employees will become employees of SOCAN. SODRAC’s current General Manager Alain Lauzon will continue his work as a special consultant to SOCAN’s CEO.

With SOCAN’s innovations and acquisitions, including SODRAC, no music rights organization in the world has such a comprehensive ability to monitor, collect, and distribute royalties for music rights-holders. SOCAN is proud to offer an expanded suite of services to digital service providers, music creators and music publishers, benefiting its members, and positioning the company as the world leader in the digital music age.

SOCAN continues to power many facets of the Canadian music industry, looking for opportunities to lead the global transformation of music rights, providing leading-edge services to music rights holders. In 2016, the organization launched its Royalty Guru service and API portal, acquired Seattle-based MediaNet and New York-based music technology company Audiam.

For more information, see the FAQ.


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