A crowd of more than 200 SOCAN members gathered at the Gold Corp stage of the BMO Theatre in Vancouver to attend the SOCAN Annual General Meeting on June 18, 2019, to learn about SOCAN’s major achievements in 2018 – including a record-breaking $375-million in music creator revenues. With a theme of “extended play,” the event was also streamed live in both languages on Facebook, for members who couldn’t attend in person.

Luca Fogale, SOCAN, AGM, 2019

Luca Fogale

After a strong opening performance from singer-songwriter Luca Fogale, SOCAN Board of Directors President and Chair Marc Ouellette reported on various milestones for the organization, including the fact that SOCAN now numbers almost 160,000 members, and discussed the work of SOCAN’s Board of Directors in 2018.

SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste spoke of SOCAN’s 2018 financial record-setting results – including total revenue of $375 million; more than $87 million of that in international revenue; $320 million distributed to music creators and publishers, including royalties from almost 63 billion online music services performances; and a 29 per cent increase in revenue from digital sources.

Nick Gilder, SOCAN, AGM, 2019, CSHF, Induction

Nick Gilder

Baptiste also discussed the fact that, for the first time ever – thanks to our successful acquisition of SODRAC – SOCAN is now collecting and distributing for mechanical rights; that streaming revenue is increasing, but songwriters, composers and music publishers must receive their fair share, which should be more; how our song camps, song camp Mondays, new office in Los Angeles, and new office space in Vancouver are supporting and accommodating more members; how SOCAN continues to create cutting-edge digital tools and services, including artificial intelligence and our application programming interface (API), to better serve our publisher and writer members; and how our new subsidiary companies, Dataclef, Audiam, and Entandem, are advancing the causes of our members and licensees. For a more complete accounting of SOCAN’s activities in 2018, see our full Annual Report.

Jonathan Simkin, SOCAN, AGM, 2019, Award, "Call Me Maybe", manager

Jonathan Simkin

A lively question-and-answer session followed. At the finale of the AGM, “Hot Child in the City,” a 1978 Billboard No. 1 smash hit co-written by Nick Gilder and James McCullough, and recorded by Gilder, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Gilder was presented with the honour, and delivered a captivating closing performance of the song.

At the start of the reception following the AGM, SOCAN Chief Membership and Business Development Officer Michael McCarty presented Jonathan Simkin,  of Simkin Artist Management, with a 2019 SOCAN Achievement Award for his role in helping to foster the Most Performed Song in the history of SOCAN, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me  Maybe.”

At the reception, attending members connected with both SOCAN staff and each other, over drinks and hors d’œuvres.

SOCAN, AGM, 2019, Reception

The Reception

The votes are in! Today, “Blood//Water,” performed by grandson, has officially been named the winner of the 14th annual English SOCAN Songwriting Prize. Written by Chester Krupa Carbone and Jordan Benjamin of Toronto, and Kevin Hissink, originally of the Netherlands, “Blood//Water” runs deep with social commentary.

Over the last two weeks, music fans from across Canada cast their votes, hoping that their favourite would be dubbed the 2019 SOCAN Songwriting Prize winner. With so many fantastic songs and varied musical styles in the mix, voting was a tight race, but in the end, “Blood//Water” took the top spot, receiving the $10,000 cash prize, a  Yamaha PSR-S970 Keyboard, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade.

“It’s a great honour to receive this recognition as a Canadian songwriter,” said Benjamin. “‘Blood//Water’ was written from a place of frustration and disillusionment, an expression of the manifestations of karma that are waiting for those who continue to subvert justice and democracy in the name of a dollar. Those core themes are as relevant today as when the song was written. Thanks to Kevin and Krupa for bringing this song to life with me; it really does take a village. We’ll continue to make noise until the grand-kids are heard.”

The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is the only major songwriting award in Canada where fans vote to determine the winner. Ten outstanding songs created by Canadian songwriters over the past year are nominated by a panel of 14 esteemed music-industry experts. The general public is then invited to vote for their favourite song, each day, for two weeks, to determine the winner. SOCAN plays no role in determining the nominees or winners, apart from ensuring that they’re members of SOCAN. A parallel competition for songs in French, the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, is conducted separately.

“We’re thrilled to award the 2019 SOCAN Songwriting Prize to Jordan, Kevin and Krupa,” said Michael McCarty, Chief Membership & Business Development Officer at SOCAN. “This year’s nominated songs saw a wide range of genres and eclectic musical styles, making voting on just one winner a true challenge for music fans. Each year, a new wave of Canadian songwriting talent who aren’t afraid to push the envelope with their creativity is unveiled. ‘Blood//Water’ is an anthem that can’t be pinned down to a single musical genre and its lyrical strength is inspiring. We wish continued success to these immensely talented writers.”

“It was such a pleasure working with this team who are so committed to making honest music and pushing the sound of rock & roll. I’m humbled by this award, and I’m excited for the next chapter,” said Krupa. Kevin Hissink said, “I’m truly honoured to receive the SOCAN Songwriting Prize. To be able to write music that rocks hard and empowers those who feel powerless is an incredible experience. Thanks Jordan and Krupa, thanks home team. Thank you SOCAN!”

The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN is “On fouette,” written by Teddy Laguerre, Shawn Volcy, Marc Casseus, and Vladimi Methelus, and performed by Tizzo, featuring Shreez and Soft.

The other nine songs nominated in the English category were:

  • “Bad Biology” – written by Elizabeth Ball, Kathleen Monks, Benjamin Reinhartz, James Anthony Rowlinson; performed by Dilly Dally.
  • “Chances” – written by Kevin Celestin, Shanice Mohamed, Anthony Pierre; performed by Kaytranada feat. Shay Lia; published by Casablanca Media Publishing Inc.
  • “Elephant Man” – written by Sam Lucia, Geoff Millar; performed by So Loki; published by Owake Records.
  • “Hang Ups” – written by Scott Helman, Thomas Salter, Gordie Sampson, Simon Wilcox; performed by Scott Helman; published by EMI April Music Canada, SONY ATV Music Publishing Canada.
  • “Payback” – written by Sarah Hagen, Maxwell Pankiw, Isaiah Steinberg; performed by Bad Child.
  • “She’s The One” – written by Chloé Soldevila, Miles Dupire-Gagnon, Gabriel Lambert, Zachary Irving; performed by Anemone.
  • “Soundboi” – written by Dominique Dias, John Samuels; performed by Just John + Dom Dias.
  • “Tortoise” – written by Clairmont Humphrey II; performed by Clairmont the Second.
  • “Whatever Comes To Mind” – written by Seth Nyquist, Adrian Cook; performed by MorMor.

The 2018 winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize was Partner for “Play The Field” written by band members Josée Caron and Lucy Niles. Additional winners are available to view on the SOCAN Songwriting Prize website.

In sync with the organization’s annual general meeting in Vancouver, SOCAN announced final financial results for 2018, confirming another record year for royalties earned by its more than 160,000 member songwriters, composers, music publishers, and visual artists.

The largest organization in the Canadian music ecosystem attracted and distributed record amounts to more members than ever, but cautioned that more must be done to ensure that all rightsholders receive a more equitable share of rapidly growing revenues from digital uses of music.

Significant SOCAN results achieved in 2018:

  • A record $320-million distributed to SOCAN members – an 8% increase over the previous year.
  • $375-million in total collections – an 11% increase compared with 2017.
  • Domestic collections at an all-time high of $286-million – 9% more than 2017.
  • A 15% year-over-year increase in royalties from outside of Canada ($87-million), again the top revenue stream for SOCAN members.
  • Even with a substantially more complex environment, and investments in technology to keep SOCAN ahead of the digital curve, SOCAN was able to operate with a 12.6% net expense ratio.
  • A 29% increase in revenue from digital sources ($63-million).

“The popularity of music streaming continues to increase, but a SOCAN member who received royalties in 2018 on average took in only $54 from digital sources,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “Digital platforms are reaping massive value on the backs of music creators and publishers. SOCAN will continue to fight for more equitable and fair compensation for rightsholders as this part of the industry matures.”

Among many topics discussed at SOCAN’s AGM, Baptiste highlighted several key recent advancements for the company’s members, including the full acquisition of Québec-based rights organization SODRAC, bringing mechanical/reproduction rights and royalties to members, as well as the extension of SOCAN’s mandate into visual arts; the creation of Entandem, a combined licensing venture with RE:SOUND that will bring benefits to rightsholders and licensed businesses alike; and the addition of Dataclef, the back-office services arm of the organization.

SOCAN continues to work on harnessing artificial intelligence, and to offer tools that allow third-party organizations to build software from its online application programming interface (API) specifications. These identify and collect on more public uses of music, returning more royalties, with even greater speed and accuracy, to those who’ve rightfully earned them.

Also reviewed at the meeting were SOCAN’s member advocacy accomplishments with the federal government. Several recommendations were included in the recent Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage ““Shifting Paradigms” report, including:

  • Extending the term of copyright protection to the creator’s lifetime plus 70 years.
  • Regulation and clarification of the “charitable exemption” clause for businesses using music.
  • Updating the private copying regime to be technologically neutral.
  • Remuneration for visual artists when their copyright works are re-sold.
  • A more level playing field for rightsholders, across all platforms.

SOCAN’s 2018 annual report and complete financial statement are available at socanannualreport.ca.