A crowd of SOCAN members gathered – online-only, for the first time – to attend the SOCAN Annual General Meeting on Nov. 10, 2020, to learn about SOCAN’s major achievements in 2019.
SOCAN Board of Directors President and Chair Marc Ouellette opened by briefly mentioning SOCAN’s adaptations to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 in 2020, and its successful efforts to maintain regular royalty distributions. Ouellette reported on various milestones for the organization, and discussed the work of SOCAN’s Board of Directors in 2019.
SOCAN Interim CEO Jennifer Brown spoke of SOCAN’s 2019 financial record-setting results – including a record-breaking total revenue of $405.6 million; a total of $315.1 million of that in domestic revenue; more than $90.5 million of that in international revenue; $301.6 million distributed to music creators and publishers, including royalties from more than 92 billion online music services performances; a 38 percent increase in revenue from digital sources; and $12 million in reproduction rights revenue.
Distributions to members totaled $296-million, a six percent 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. Brown also said that SOCAN is expecting an 11 percent decline in total revenues for 2020 because of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, and that our resilience will see us through the situation.
Brown also said that streaming revenue continues to increase, but SOCAN is fighting to ensure that songwriters, composers and music publishers receive their fair share, which should be more; how our SOCAN Houses, sound lounges, song camps, and song camp Mondays are supporting and accommodating more members; how SOCAN’s fifth annual Parliament Hill event allowed us to advocate on behalf of our members, at the federal-government level; how Entandem has improved the licensing experience of businesses licensed to play by SOCAN; and how SOCAN continues to create cutting-edge digital tools and services, to better serve our publisher and writer members.
A lively question-and-answer session followed, largely devoted to the decrease in distributions. For a more complete accounting of SOCAN’s activities in 2019, see our full Annual Report.