In a series of articles, The Breakdown, Words & Music offers short, basic answers to the most common and essential questions from SOCAN members. This time, it’s Royalties for Live Performances.

If I’m a SOCAN member, how do I get paid for a live performance?
There are two ways to submit your set list from a live performance, so that SOCAN can collect your royalties for it:

You can

  1. Sign in to the secure section of our website, at www.socan.com
  2. Go to “SOCAN Forms”
  3. Select “Notification of Live Music Performance” (NLMP)
  4. Complete the form and submit

Or you can

  1. Go to a PDF of the NLMP form
  2. Complete the form
  3. Print and scan it
  4. E-mail  it to members@socan.ca

Do any conditions apply for me to recieve concert performance royalties?
Performance royalties for concerts are determined by SOCAN’s distribution rules for all eligible live performances, but two conditions do apply: First, the presenter or venue needs to have paid their SOCAN licence fee; second, for shows in clubs and bars, a minimum cover or ticket price of $6 must be in place.

What are “Unidentified Concert” performances?
SOCAN maintains a list of Unidentified Concert Performances in the members’ secure section of www.socan.com. Simply sign in, then go to SOCAN Performances & Repertoire, select “Unidentified Performances,” then select “Concerts With No Set Lists.” We encourage you to search that list for any concerts where you believe your music was performed, and for that matter, any other unpaid concerts of which you may be aware. Your help will ensure that you get paid.

How do I get paid for an “Unidentified Concert” performance?
Sign in to your account and check the unidentified concerts list. If you find a concert you’ve played that’s been filed with SOCAN but doesn’t have a set list, follow the steps to provide your set list in order to get paid. If you have no shows on the list, but have played a show within the past year, just complete and submit an NLMP form, as above.

How long do I have to submit a concert performed in Canada?
The sooner we can identify what was performed, the sooner we can get the royalties to the right people. But we won’t distribute or release any funds until we know where they should rightfully go. You have one year to report a new show you performed in Canada, if it’s not on the unidentified concerts list. Once we know the titles of the music that was performed at the concert, the rights holders will receive their deserved shares of royalties for any performance of their music at any licensed event. The Unidentified Concerts List covers performances up to three years old.

How long after the live performance of a concert performed in Canada will I get paid?
If the documentation you’ve sent us is complete, and if the promoter pays the license fee promptly, you can expect to be paid about nine months after your live performance, for a concert in Canada.


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We’ve all heard the horror story, time and time again: the band van, parked in a sketchy neighbourhood where the club’s located, gets broken into and looted of every last guitar, bass, amp, keyboard, mic, stand, and drum. Unfortunately, there seems to have been an increase in gear theft recently, but there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your band. To that end, David Hamilton, President and CEO of Front Row Insurance, has provided some tips and tricks below about guarding your instruments, and some information on how to insure them, so that you’re protected in any worst-case scenarios.

  1. Anonymity

One of the best ways to prevent your instruments from being stolen is to remain as anonymous as possible – in terms of your band and your instruments.

  • Avoid having band stickers on your vehicle and instruments, so that you aren’t a clear target.
  • Tint or paint your windows or buy blinds, so people can’t see into your vehicle, your rehearsal space, or any place you store your instruments.
  1. Security

This one might sound obvious, but there are a few critical steps you can take to make sure that you’re keeping your items as secure as possible. These include the following:

  • Install an alarm.
  • Develop a protocol to make sure that your vehicle is locked at all times. Even when you’re loading in, and might be making several back-and-forth trips to a club, concert hall, or rehearsal space. This happens a lot with bands and musicians, and presents an easy target for thieves.
  • Chain all of your gear together in your van or trunk, so that if a thief does a smash-and-grab, they won’t be able to get away quickly, or even at all.
  1. Parking

Many instrument thefts happen overnight, so it’s important to be careful about how and where you park.

  • Park your vehicle back against a wall whenever possible, so that it’s harder to get in the back doors.
  • Park in the underground garage of your hotel, rather than the surface lot.
  • Leave your vehicle at a tow truck yard: they are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The cost is usually reasonable for the protection provided.
  1. Keep Records

In the unfortunate case that something does get stolen, it’s important that you have the proper records. It helps with the investigation, and increases the chances of your property being found.

  • Take pictures of your instruments – this way you’ll have an image to present should something be taken.
  • Keep a record of serial numbers. This way investigators will absolutely know if an instrument is yours or not.
  • Store a copy of the appraisal if the instruments are more than five years old. Vintage gear will be likelier to have the best claims settlement if there is an appraisal to which insurers can refer.

In the unfortunate event that your gear is stolen, you’ll really only be protected from losses if you’ve chosen an insurance provider that specializes in instrument insurance for professionals (like Front Row, which offers special discount rates to SOCAN members). Most homeowners’ policies don’t insure instruments and gear used professionally, or damage caused by airlines, so be sure to source a policy for professionals. This ensures that all of your bases are covered, and the tools of your trade will be protected.

Front Row offers one-stop online shopping with low rates, flexible options, and excellent service. You can buy protection online with no need to speak to a broker. For more information on how to insure your instruments, click here.


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In a new series of articles, The Breakdown, Words & Music offers short, basic answers to the most common and essential questions from SOCAN members. This time, it’s cue sheets.

What is an audiovisual cue sheet?
A cue sheet is a document that provides details about all the music used in a screen production, whether a feature film, documentary, an episode of a television series, even a TV commercial.  The cue sheet lists any theme music and background music associated specifically with those productions, as well as any independent songs included in the soundtrack of the movie, TV show, or commercial.

How does SOCAN use the information on cue sheets to pay performance royalties to songwriters, composers, and music publishers?
On an ongoing basis, SOCAN receives programming information, which tells us what screen productions are being shown on TV and at movie theatres. Based on this information, we allocate the number of performances logged. The programming information, however, doesn’t provide any detail about what music is being used in each production. Without the cue sheet, these performances would remain unidentified and unpaid. To provide us with details about the music used in the production, we rely on the information provided on your cue sheets.

What information is provided to SOCAN in a cue sheet?
The first section of cue sheet provides high-level details about the production, including its name; the date of production; the names of the director and actors; the country of origin; foreign sales; and so on. This is useful for us to accurately identify which production should be matched to the performance information received by other performing rights organizations. The second section of the cue sheet provides specific details about each piece of music used in the production, including the title, composer (or songwriter), music publisher, ownership shares in the composition or song; and the manner of usage in the production (e.g., opening theme, background, closing theme, etc.).

Who’s responsible for submitting the cue sheet to SOCAN?
A cue sheet completed by the producer of a film or TV show is considered the authoritative source, but they can also be submitted by broadcasters, distributors, international performing rights organizations, and SOCAN members. If you’re a songwriter, composer, or music publisher, we recommend that you notify any screen production companies you work with to file their cue sheets with SOCAN, and to provide you with copies for your records.

How do I submit a cue sheet to SOCAN?
SOCAN cue sheets can be completed online and sent to CueSheetSubmit@socan.com. Any other electronic format cue sheet may also be e-mailed to CueSheetSubmit@socan.com. SOCAN will accept hard copy cue sheets by mail or fax.

How do I fill out a cue sheet?
You’ll find detailed instructions on how to complete a cue sheet; a blank cue sheet; and to a sample of a completed cue sheet, all here. For any additional questions, e-mail our Info Centre at members@socan.com, or call 1-866-307-6226.


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