Despite the challenges of 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time in its history SOCAN’s total annual collections for licensed music are expected to exceed $416-million, a 3% increase over the previous record of $405.6-million set in the financial year 2019.
When compared with 2020 collections of $391-million, the company attributed most of the $25 million year-over-year growth to $135 million collected for the use of music on digital platforms – an increase of $32 million over 2020. This more than offset the pandemic-driven downward pressure on General Licensing (primarily background music used in public spaces) and Concerts (music performed live), having decreased 70% from pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the continuing positive growth in digital music licensing, and the popularity of online streaming services, a SOCAN writer member who earned royalties in 2021 earned an average of only $67.14 from domestic digital sources for the entire year.
Revenue from international sources continued to show strength at the historically high mark of $106.1-million, demonstrating again that Canadian music creators and publishers continue to out-perform on a global level.
International music license collections were fostered by the increased popularity of digital music platforms and the strength of SOCAN members abroad.
“Given the challenges of the pandemic, at the end of 2020 we prepared for a financially austere 2021,” said SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown. “Thanks to a combination of more music being consumed in Canada and worldwide, and the diligence and commitment of our nearly 280 employees – working tirelessly to uncover and collect domestic and international music licenses – we were able to bring in more than ever for our nearly 180,000 members, for their incredible and invaluable work.”
Unofficial 2021 SOCAN financial highlights:
- Total collections: $416 million (6% increase over 2020).
- Domestic collections: $310million (+6% year-over-year).
- Total collections from internet use of music: $135 million.
- Strong Reproduction Rights results with digital audio-visual more than doubling, synchronization up 37%, and international revenue +32% over 2020.
- International collections: 6% increase to $106-million.
- Gross expenses: less than 1% increase over 2020.
- SOCAN welcomed 6,743 new members in 2021.
- A total of 273,646 songs and compositions registered with SOCAN last year.
SOCAN remains cautiously optimistic for 2022 for the return of in-person events and concerts as Canada and the rest of the world emerge from the two-year COVID-19 crisis.
Along with the continuing popularity of music delivered digitally, SOCAN’s steady growth in Reproduction Rights, striking various agreements with several major platforms; the addition of the Audio-Visual Broadcast Mechanical right; plus the prospect of the passage of the federal government’s Online Streaming Act to help safeguard the future of Canadian music, all bode well for a continuation of positive results for Canada’s music creators, publishers, and visual artists.
 Estimates. Final figures will be released in concert with SOCAN’s online annual general meeting in June 2022.