A crowd of SOCAN members gathered – online-only, for the second year in a row – to attend the SOCAN Annual General Meeting on June 13, 2021, to learn about SOCAN’s major achievements in 2020.
SOCAN Board of Directors President and Chair Marc Ouellette opened by briefly mentioning SOCAN’s continuing adaptations to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and its successful efforts to maintain regular royalty distributions. Ouellette noted that Jennifer Brown has now become the first woman to lead SOCAN as its new CEO; congratulated the newly-elected SOCAN Board, which will serve our members at the helm of the organization for the 2021-2024 term; and discussed the work of the Board in 2020.
SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown spoke of SOCAN’s 2020 financial results – including a total of $349 million in royalty distributions, which is only a four percent decrease from 2019 (better than expected during the pandemic); a total of $282 million of that in domestic revenue; an all-time high of $100 million of that in international revenue; royalties distributed on from more than 125 billion performances; and $11 million in reproduction rights revenue. In 2020, SOCAN grew to more than 175,000 members, and a total of 178,288 new works (songs or compositions) were registered.
Brown mentioned that in adapting to the pandemic in 2020, SOCAN was the first performing rights organization in the world to pay royalties for online concerts, and was quick to create an emergency relief advance program.
As for SOCAN’s wholly-owned subsidiary companies, SOCAN Foundation Executive Director Charlie Andrews discussed how the Foundation also created a similar COVID relief fund, and established the Black Canadian Music Awards to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry. The 2020 Executive Director of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF), Vanessa Thomas, reported more than 370 million cumulative media impressions for a series of televised CSHF broadcast inductions.
A lively question-and-answer session followed, for the approximately 220 members who attended the event.
For a more complete accounting of SOCAN’s activities in 2020, see our full Annual Report.