A vacant seat on the SOCAN Board of Directors was recently filled by independent Québécoise singer-songwriter and producer Vilma Avila, according to the 2018 board election results, as required by SOCAN’s bylaws. The seat was vacated by the amicable departure of Martine Groulx from the board.

In 2014, Vilma set up her own independent, all-female production company PrimaStar Productions. She’s inspired by traditional Latin music and North American pop, and her video for “A Bailar,” has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube. After taking stages in Québec by storm, she conquered crowds on tour for several months in Panama and Costa Rica, including more than 100 interviews and television appearances.

Her mission is to touch as many hearts as possible through music, and to encourage other women in the show-business industry. A songwriter since early childhood, she’s accumulated more than 300 lyrical pieces. Armed with exuberant creativity, Vilma – who originally studied law – switched lanes to launch her professional career as a singer more than six years ago, after training in singing, composition, and the entertainment industry at the music school Prochant in Montréal.

After a short absence devoted fully to her new role as a mother, she’s now returned to the spotlight, more sensitive and poised  than ever. Her Tierras Lejanas Tour of 2019-2020 will take her to Canada, Panama, Mexico, and the U.S., and in 2020, Avila will launch her debut album. Vilma has also established the Alegria Foundation, an organization helping underprivileged children in Panama, where she was born.

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors (CISAC) has announced that creators’ royalties have hit a new record high of $14.2 billion (all figures Canadian dollars) worldwide in 2018. Music creators – songwriters, lyricists, composers and music publishers – saw their global royalty collections grow by 1.8 per cent to $12.4 billion, helped by a 29.6 percent increase in digital revenues.

According to the organization’s annual Global Collections Report, revenues from digital sources – largely driven by streaming subscription services – have nearly tripled since 2014, and now account for 17 percent of all collections, as compared to 7.5 percent in 2014.

The increase in major markets’ digital collections – notably the U.S., France, and Japan – are the biggest drivers of global growth. This growth is helped by new and extended licensing deals between societies and digital platforms, from dedicated content services like Spotify, to social media platforms such as Facebook, to video-on-demand platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

Over the five years since 2014, global collections by CISAC societies are up 25.4%. Digital growth, combined with resilience in the two other major uses (TV/radio and live/background), are continuing to offset declining income from physical media.

CISAC Director General Gadi Oron said, “This report provides many reasons for optimism about our sector. Digital revenues show an impressive increase, have nearly tripled in the last five years, and have enormous potential for further growth. More markets are seeing digital income taking the top position of all revenue streams, which is an extremely positive sign. In a landscape of fragmenting income sources, the role of authors’ societies in generating monetary value for millions of creators has never been more vital.”

For more highlights from CISAC’s 2019 Global Collections Report (for 2018 data), visit www.CISAC.org.

The second annual Québec meeting with SOCAN #ComposersWhoScore was held on Oct. 29, 2019, at the Gésu in Montréal. The event was divided into four segments, and was followed by a networking cocktail reception.

Web Series
Hosted by SOCAN Account Executive Karine Melchior, the first panel was about the creative stakes of web series, an increasingly popular format. Participants were treated to a stellar panel of guests, including Sophie Bégin, Chief of Content for ICI TOU.TV; Julia Langlois, Content Producer and Fiction Development at Trio Orange; and Martin Métivier Senior Producer, Digital Entertainment and Media, for Attractions Images.

Martin Métivier, Julia Langlois, Sophie Bégin

Left to right: Martin Métivier, Julia Langlois, Sophie Bégin.

Licensing and New Media
Hosted by Simon Henri, Synch Licence Agent for SOCAN in Montréal, the second panel discussed the various licences attached to digital screen services. Henri talked about the challenges of digital, and compared traditional broadcasting models with those of new media, like Netflix.

 Reproduction Rights and Broadcast Incidentals
Hosted by SOCAN Senior Legal Advisor Martin Lavallée, the third panel was about reproduction rights and broadcast incidental copies. In what was clearly the densest segment of the day, Lavallée explained in layman’s terms how SOCAN’s tariffs and their licences work, when it comes to reproductions.

Martin Lavallée, Geneviève Côté

Left to right: Martin Lavallée, Geneviève Côté

Screen Music
The meeting continued with a fascinating panel on the unconventional artistic approach to music for the film Les Affamés. The panel was hosted by Éric Parazelli, Editor of SOCAN’s Paroles & Musique magazine and Francophone Communications Specialist. His guests were the film’s director, screenwriter, and actor, Robin Aubert, and the composer/producer of the film’s music, Pilou (Pierre-Philippe Côté). The creative synergy between these two artists was the highlight of this session. They shared with the attendees their atypical creative process, and their ongoing collaboration throughout the film’s shooting, and the final edit that gave Les Affamés a ground-breaking soundtrack that won, among other awards, the Prix Iris for Best Original Soundtrack at the 2018 Gala Québec Cinéma.

SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste, who attended the event, and he concluded the event by thanking the guests, participants, and organizers for such an instructive, constructive meeting.