Among many other musical accomplishments, Tegan and Sara were signed by Neil Young’s Vapor Records at the age of 18, played onstage at the Academy Awards, hosted the JUNO Awards (and won three), earned a Grammy nomination, won a SOCAN Award, toured with Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, and played Coachella. We sat down for a rapid-fire question-and-answer session with Sara Quin about career highlights like these.

SOCAN today announced final 2019 financial results, including record domestic and international collections for the company’s member music creators, music publishers and visual artists. The company also announced significant financial losses due to past investments in the acquisition, creation, and financing of the new business venture Dataclef Inc.

Highlights of SOCAN’s 2019 results:

  • $405.6-million in total collections – an 8.2% increase compared with 2018.
  • Record-setting domestic collections of $315.1-million – 10% more than 2018.
  • A 2.2% year-over-year increase in international royalty collections ($90.5-million).
  • A 37.6% increase in revenue from digital sources ($86-million).
  • Reproduction rights collections increased to $12-million.

Distributions to members totaled $296-million, a 6% decrease compared with the $315-million distributed in 2018. The disparity was due primarily to the steep learning curve required for the company’s newly deployed technology to process international and television income. Significant progress has been made in these areas in 2020, as SOCAN continues to leverage this new technology to meet the data-intensive demands of the digital age.

In 2016, SOCAN through its wholly owned subsidiary Dataclef Inc., embarked on a plan to implement the organization’s strategic vision. The 2019 financial results include losses that resulted in an impairment  of $41.7-million to the advances made by SOCAN to fund its subsidiary operations since 2016.

“At the time of our investment in these operations, we were exploring new ways to support our members by creating other revenue streams and leveraging new technologies,” said interim CEO Jennifer Brown. “Business plans didn’t come to fruition in the way we anticipated. Through the evaluation process, it became clear that we should divest ourselves of Dataclef assets. We are, however, encouraged by significant success with our new technology system and our improved matching and processing capabilities.”

Through extensive evaluation and analysis, SOCAN has developed a plan to manage the losses, which have not impacted distributions.

Aspects of the plan include the sale of Dataclef assets, a significant reduction in SOCAN’s overhead expenses, a re-organization of the Dataclef operation, and new management leadership, all of which have already been put into action.

SOCAN’s management and Board of Directors have also committed to sharpening the company’s focus on core work for members: expanded domestic licensing of music; continual improvement of the depth, accuracy and speed of royalty distributions; and investing in ways that will allow our team to focus on our core purpose of helping music creators and publishers thrive.

The accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP has reviewed SOCAN’s financial plan to manage the financial impairment and has provided SOCAN with its support.

SOCAN will hold its annual general meeting online on Nov. 10, 2020, to discuss the organization’s 2019 results and financial plan in detail. The meeting is available online to members of the organization who earned royalties in 2019. SOCAN’s 2019 annual report and financial statements audited by KPMG will be made available in concert with the meeting.

Valence, Vincent DufourAfter conquering a series of difficulties created by the current pandemic, the 2020 Grand Final of the Les Francouvertes competition finally took place at Montréal’s Lion d’Or, almost six months later than in previous years. The Québec City singer-songwriter Valence took top honours, and was presented with the $10,000 SiriusXM cash prize, and various and sundry other awards. Vincent Dufour’s retro-kitsch, often swinging, sound also won the band the SOCAN-sponsored $1,000 Paroles & Musique Award, which comes with a free songwriting residence at either the Paris, France, or Nashville SOCAN House.

In second position was Narcisse, also from Québec City, with a musically and visually daring entry, while singer-songwriter Ariane Roy (also from Québec City) took the third spot. The industry jury included SOCAN A&R Representative Widney Bonfils, and people were invited to attend the awards ceremony from the comfort of their own homes.

The show opened on a joint performance starring the event spokespersons, Laurence Nerbonne and Émile Bilodeau.

For a complete list of the 2019 Francouvertes winners, go to the event website.

The Les Francouvertes final was broadcast live online, but viewers will be able to catch a special broadcast of the full evening on Influence Franco – SiriusXM 174 on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 12:00 noon ET (as well as on Friday, Nov. 13, from 6:00 p.m. ET).

SOCAN warmly congratulates Valence for this major victory in its young career.