In the midst of social distancing to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, SOCAN is continuing to operate at full capacity. To keep you posted about what we’re doing to adapt to the situation, and how we’re doing it, we present a series of SOCAN Leadership Updates – online video interviews with various SOCAN executives.

This time, SOCAN’s Vice-President of Information Technology, Trevor Jackson, discusses I.T.’s role in ensuring that our members have continued to receive their royalties, and what the department has learned from adapting to the pandemic.

In SOCAN’s distribution of royalties on August 15, 2020, we processed a total of 937 submissions for virtual live concerts performed on Facebook and Instagram during the COVID-19 lockdown, for a total payout of more than $130,000. This was the first distribution of royalties to include Facebook/Instagram online concerts under SOCAN’s new Encore! program. A total of approximately $200,000 is available each quarter under the program, until March 7, 2021.

“Like so many Canadians, SOCAN member songwriters, composers, and music publishers are facing tough times with the loss of revenue from touring and in-person concerts,” said Jennifer Brown, Interim-CEO of SOCAN. “Many of our members have stepped up for fans, staging online concerts to bring the public together and keep their careers moving ahead, so it’s only fair that they get paid for their generous work with our Encore! program.”

To receive an Encore! payment for a live music event on Facebook or Instagram:

  • The performance must occur on either the Facebook live or Instagram live platform as an Event, from March 15, 2020, to March 7, 2021 (inclusive).
  • The performance must be at least 10 songs/compositions, or at least 30 minutes.
  • At least 100 people must have watched the online event, live, while it was happening.
  • A set list of all music performed, along with proof of performance and proof of audience via screen capture, has to be sent via SOCAN’s Notification of Live Music Performance online submission in your SOCAN member account.
  • Claims must be made within 90 days of the Facebook/Instagram concert occurring.
  • For detailed instructions on how to submit, go to

Each online concert is eligible for a total payment of $150, with shares of royalties going to all rights holders of the music performed.

SOCAN, on behalf of SODRAC members and clients, is finally able to collect for the reproduction of music on CBC television broadcasts.

The Supreme Court of Canada determined that “broadcast incidental copies” have reproduction right value, as SOCAN/SODRAC was able to demonstrate. Broadcast incidental copies are copies of music embedded in audio-visual content made by broadcasters, that are necessary to facilitate television, radio, or online programming.

The Copyright Board of Canada ruled on the re-examination of its 2012 decision on the value of those music reproductions. SODRAC – the reproduction rights collective that SOCAN acquired in 2018 – successfully defended the 2012 ruling. That judgment ensured that associated royalties would be delivered to the music publishers, composers, and songwriters who rightfully earned them from the use of copies of their work.

Agreements have long been in place for commercial radio broadcast reproductions. SOCAN is now the only collective in Canada collecting television reproduction royalties for the benefit of their members and clients. After almost 10 years of litigation with CBC, the Copyright Board re-confirmed that broadcast incidental copies are essential to the broadcast business and are payable as reproduction royalties for rights-holders.

The result was a ruling in favour of rights-holders, awarding $1.5-million in 2008-2012 licenses. The final decision on the amount for the period 2012-2018 is still to be issued by the Copyright Board.

This decision has ongoing incremental value for music reproduction rights-holders. Now that a definitive value has been set, SOCAN will begin negotiations with additional Canadian broadcasters that require a license to use broadcast incidental copies of copyright music. SOCAN had already reached television reproduction agreements with Québec-based broadcasters and several English-speaking Bell and Corus channels.