A crowd of SOCAN members gathered – online-only, for the third year in a row – to attend the SOCAN Annual General Meeting on June 20, 2022, learning about SOCAN’s major achievements in 2021.
After the duo of Neon Dreams opened the event with a captivating acoustic performance of “Life Without Fantasies,” SOCAN Board of Directors President and Chair Marc Ouellette briefly summarized the work of the Board, newly elected in 2021 – including a full governance review that’s currently still underway.
SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown then spoke of returning SOCAN’s attention to its core business of serving our members’ needs above all else. Brown also shared SOCAN’s record-breaking 2021 financial results – including a total of $353 million in royalty distributions, and a total of $310 million in domestic revenue collections (a six percent increase). She later pointed out that internet revenues have increased 176 percent since 2017, and also reported SOCAN’s efforts in striving toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.
Chief Financial Officer Rob Bennett looked at the numbers in greater detail, explaining how major growth in internet revenue largely made up for the decrease in live performance royalties during the second year of the pandemic. He also talked about an all-time high of $106 million in international revenue, and a 32 percent increase in international reproduction rights revenue from 2021.
Chief Membership officer Jean-Christian emphasized SOCAN’s renewed mission to offer impeccable service, focused on members’ needs, via three elements: ensuring that the SOCAN team has all the necessary knowledge to support members and answer their questions effectively; ensuring that all our employees are effectively mobilized, with a well-balanced distribution of tasks; and ensuring that we’re efficient and transparent, with our Query team answering members as soon as possible, and a new e-mail communications plan to keep them even better informed.
As for SOCAN’s wholly-owned subsidiary companies, SOCAN Foundation Board member Ed Henderson discussed how the Foundation worked to foster SOCAN members’ music, and support diversity, equity, and inclusion through many online initiatives and grant programs – such as the HER Music Awards, the Black Canadian Music Awards, and the Indigenous Songwriter Awards.
Nicholas Fedor – the Executive Director of another wholly-owned SOCAN subsidiary, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) – reported a record of more than 1.16 billion cumulative media impressions for a series of 14 televised CSHF broadcast inductions. He also mentioned that Mustafa and Ariane Roy won the 2021 Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Awards.
A question-and-answer session ensued, with queries about what measures SOCAN is taking to improve the workplace for its employees (several); whether concerts will recover to 100% capacity in 2022 (likely not that soon, but we’ll have to wait and see); if the 2021 financial report numbers are adjusted for inflation (not for 2021, maybe for 2022); how close SOCAN is to getting domestic and international cue sheet registration backlogs completed (we’re working on it); what we can do about some radio stations paying a small fraction of what they used to (radio was hit hard by the pandemic, as many small, local advertisers disappeared, so it’ll depend on the rate and depth of its recovery).
For a more complete accounting of SOCAN’s activities in 2021, see our full Annual Report.