Welcome to the first video of our new Top Secrets series! In these videos, songwriters who’ve earned a No. 1 spot on the ADISQ BDS & Correspondants charts – celebrated by a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award – tell us the secrets behind their hits.

Just as Franco-Ontarian Michel Bénac of the combo LGS just released two songs (“#Bizness” and “Toutes sexy”), he dropped by SOCAN, and we took the opportunity to ask him about his two previous No. 1s, which he co-wrote with John Nathaniel (published by Purple Hive Music Publishing and John Nathaniel Productions Inc.), “Thirsty,” (No. 1 BDS & Correspondants) and “On perd la tête” (No. 1 BDS). The band wasn’t expecting this success, and had even announced it was breaking up, just before commercial radio flung its doors wide open. That put their retirement plans on ice, needless to say…

RIDEAU, 2020, panel, ecology, SOCANThe 33rd annual edition of the RIDEAU conference was held in Québec City on Feb. 16-21, 2020. On Feb. 17, SOCAN presented a panel on environmental responsibility on tour and in music venues, attended by a packed room of more than 100 attendees.

The panel was hosted by Geneviève Côté, SOCAN Chief of Québec Affairs & Visual Arts. Her guests were Laurence Lafond-Beaulne, one half of Milk & Bone, and the co-founder of ACT (Artistes Citoyens en Tournée, whose mission is to promote environmentally responsible practices in the live events industry) and David Jolin, operations co-ordinator for Théâtre Petit Champlain.

Environmentally responsible policies in the music industry are important to SOCAN, and the goal of the panel was to start the conversation required to identify viable solutions. On several occasions during the discussion, panelists reminded everyone in attendance that “going green” is a project that can only be accomplished over a long period of time.

In the following interview with SOCAN, they addressed the following questions:  Why is it important for SOCAN to get involved in this awareness program? Is it possible to raise the awareness of all parties in the entire chain of the live booking process? What’s their takeaway, following this panel and the interactions with the participants? What are the next steps?

To find out more about ACT, click here.

To find out more about Théâtre Petit Champlain’s environmental actions, click here.

Rideau, 2020, Nicolas Gémus, SOCAN

Left to right: Jean-Philippe Sauvé (SODEC), Nicolas Gémus, Widney Bonfils (SOCAN). Photo: Vincent Champoux

Also during RIDEAU, various grants were awarded as part of the very popular showcases that pepper the event. Among those, SOCAN, in collaboration with SODEC and RIDEAU, offered a stay at the Paris SOCAN House to the winner of the European bookers’ jury award, Nicolas Gémus. The artist turned out to be the most awarded of this year, after also winning the ROSEQ/RIDEAU Jury Award and the Stingray Stars Jury Award, which salutes the boldness and quality of the creative project of an emerging artist on the music scene.

For the first time in its history, SOCAN’s total annual collections exceeded $400 million, with an estimated $405.5 million[1] collected in fiscal year 2019 by the largest company in Canada’s music industry, an 8 percent increase over the previous record of $375 million set in financial year 2018.

SOCAN attributed most of the approximately $30 million growth to an increase of approximately $23 million in collections from digital sources, as well as an additional $7 million from reproduction rights collections, following SOCAN’s 2018 acquisition of Montréal-based SODRAC.

While digital collections ($86.1 million) increased by approximately $23 million (38 percent) over the $62.5 million of 2019, a SOCAN member who earned any royalties last year earned an average of only $67 from domestic digital royalties – despite it being a $13 (24 percent) increase over the 2018 average of $54.

“Royalties from television, radio, international, and concerts remain strong, but most growth this year came from domestic digital sources, and it’s clear that more must be done to improve the SOCAN writer’s and publisher’s shares from streaming royalties,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “The Canadian government has acknowledged that Canadian content rules and discoverability must be modernized for the digital age. If music creation – the lifeblood of Canada’s music industry – isn’t supported quickly through the development of updated rules, there could be dire economic and cultural consequences.”

While royalties from digital sources remain too small for most SOCAN members, revenue from international sources continued to show strength at the historically high mark, and new record, of $88.5 million, demonstrating again that Canadian music creators and music publishers continue to out-perform on a global level.

The company also reported that the number of members who earned royalties in 2019 increased by nearly 3,000, as the company continues to attract songwriters, composers, and music publishers who want to start, and build, their careers with SOCAN.

[1] Estimates. Final figures will be determined following the March 2020 meeting of SOCAN’s Board of Directors and released in concert with SOCAN’s annual general meeting in Montréal in June.