SOCAN is pleased to see new measures announced today by Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly as part of the new Creative Export Strategy. SOCAN has long been encouraging the government to address the export of our cultural goods; as such, the announcement offering new tools to achieve this end is welcomed.

“With the new technologies, the world is within the reach of Canadian Creators, and providing them with the means to make their mark on the international stage is a winning strategy,” said Eric Baptiste, SOCAN’s Chief Executive Officer. In SOCAN, the Government of Canada will always find a partner committed to further developing markets for our Canadian Creators, both at home and abroad.

On June 13, 2018 the Professional Music Publishers’ Association (PMPA) awarded its Christopher J. Reed to Montréal music publisher Denis Wolff.

Named after the influential music publisher who died in 2012, the Prix Christopher J. Reed is presented annually, since then, to an outstanding music publishing advocate. The honour recognizes one who’s demonstrated a high level of commitment to their profession, as well as to copyright compliance, and the rights of creators. The award presentation, organized by APEM with SOCAN support, took place in Montréal as part of the 2018 Rendez-vous Pros des Francos music festival.

With a career spanning more than 25 years, Denis Wolff got started in the music business as sub-publisher of the Beggars Banquet catalogue. In the 1990s, he joined Audiogram, Québec’s premium independent label, where he spent nearly 15 years in capacities ranging from VP of the Music Publishing Division, which he set up, to Director of Creative Services. He’s worked closely with artists such as the late Lhasa De Sela, Bran Van 3000, Loco Locass, and Pierre Lapointe.

In 2007, Wolff created Maisonnette, an agency  offering full film and television composition and production services, where he worked closely with a number of composers  (Jean Massicotte, Patrick Watson, Philippe Brault, Benoît Charest, Samuel Laflamme, Mathieu Vanasse, and more) whose original music he’s placed in more than 50 screen productions over the past few years.

In 2014, Denis Wolff partnered with Mary Catherine Harris to create Harris & Wolff, a one-stop, online, pre-cleared music library, catering to the film and TV market, among others. In 2017, Wolff launched Ray-On, an artist development and music services agency.

Wolff, who’s been a member of the PMPA Board of Directors since 2011, has also served on the boards of ADISQ (1998-2003), Musicaction (1999-2006), Fonds RadioStar (2001-2006, including President from 2004 to 2006 and Vice-President from 2001 to 2003), and SOPROQ (2004-2006). His industry awards include three consecutive ADISQ awards for Publisher of the Year (for Éditions Kaligram in 1997, 1998 and 1999) and the ADISQ award for Record Producer of the Year (for Jean Leloup’s Les Fourmis). Wolff was also the recipient of the inaugural SOCAN Publisher of the Year award, presented at the Montréal SOCAN Awards Gala in 2016.

A capacity crowd of more than 200 SOCAN members gathered at the Studio Theatre in Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre to attend the SOCAN Annual General Meeting on June 19, 2018, to learn about SOCAN’s major achievements in 2017 – including a record-breaking $352-million in music creator revenues. With the theme of diversity, the event was also streamed live in both languages on Facebook, to members who couldn’t attend in person.

Savannah Ré

Savannah Ré performs at the SOCAN 2018 AGM.

After a captivating opening performance from emerging R&B singer Savannah Ré, SOCAN Board of Directors President and Chair Stan Meissner reported on various milestones for the organization, including the fact that SOCAN now numbers more than 150,000 members. Stan also discussed the work of SOCAN’s Board of Directors in 2017, introduced the newly-elected Board for 2018-21, and talked about new developments at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste spoke of SOCAN’s 2017 financial record-setting results –including total collections of $352 million; more than $76 million of that in international collections; $295 million distributed to music creators and publishers, including royalties from almost 42 billion online music services performances; and a 44 per cent (!) increase in revenue from internet streaming.

Baptiste also spoke of the diversification of technology in our work, with our wholly-owned subsidiary companies Audiam and MediaNet. He referenced our diversified offerings, based on joint common licensing initiatives with neighbouring rights organization Re:Sound, and with our pending integration of reproduction rights organization SODRAC. And he discussed the diversity of SOCAN’s staff, including gender parity of SOCAN’s management and executive, and the near-parity of our new Board.

Dr. Catherine Moore

Dr. Catherine Moore speaks SOCAN 2018 AGM.

For a more complete accounting of SOCAN’s activities in 2017, see our full Annual Report.

During a lively question-and-answer session, members asked about:

  • Collected but undistributed royalties, which Baptiste said that SOCAN has addressed by running a campaign to receive members’ set lists for unpaid performances, and with technological developments to greatly avoid the problem moving forward;
  • what SOCAN members should address when contacting Members of Parliament, which Baptiste suggested should include requests a) to fix the Copyright Act, and b) that major streaming sites be legally obligated to highlight 20 percent Canadian music in their discovery engines; and
  • how to close the value gap for content, which Baptiste said is being addressed by sharing a unified government-lobbying voice among the many players in Canada’s music ecosystem, and by strongly opposing safe harbour provisions in all territories.

Janice Scott, Vice President, Information Technology, conducted a brief interview with Catherine Moore, professor of Music Technology & Digital Media at the University of Toronto.  Moore discussed how artificial intelligence (AI) is able to find patterns in the acceleration of music trends, comments, and other data on social media, to determine the best Canadian singer-songwriters to recruit as new SOCAN members. She also talked about how AI can strip out the vocals from various streaming versions of a song, and then separate the lyrics from the vocals, and match them to a lyric database, to better find and monetize all cover versions of a given song, even those sung in other languages.

A packed reception for members followed at the Harbourfront Lakeside Terrace, with DJ Gimmemar playing our members’ songs, and the evening wrapped up around 9:30 p.m.


At the reception following the SOCAN 2018 AGM.