SOCAN revenues grew 8% in 2016 as it paid out over $200m to songwriters and publishers

Toronto-based music licensing and collection society SOCAN says it saw revenues rise by 8% last year, as pay-outs to its near-150,000 members reached record levels.

According to new preliminary figures from the organization, SOCAN took in approximately CAN $330m (US $250m) in overall revenue in 2016, while distributing over CAN $285m (US $215m) for the first time in history.

That’s an approximate income-to-distribution ratio of 13.6% – the difference between the money taken in by the society and the money ultimately handed out to songwriters and publishers.

This stat appears to show SOCAN was actually less efficient in 2016 than it was in 2015, when the society turned over CAN $307.8m and distributed CAN $276.2m – a difference of 10.27%.

Why the difference? Very possibly because of SOCAN’s buyout of two businesses last year, Medianet and Audiam, with an eye on providing mechanical rights collection services.


For comparison’s sake, the latest figures from the UK’s PRS For Music show an income-to-distribution percentage in 2015 of 14.57% (revenues: GBP £539.5; distributions GBP £460.9m), not including MCPS.

Meanwhile, BMI’s equivalent figure was 12.17% for the 12 months to end of June 2016 (revenues: US $1.06bn; distributions US $931m), while over at ASCAP (for calendar 2015) it was 14.5% (revenues: US $1.015bn; distributions: US $867m).


SOCAN’s domestic revenue stood at CAN $265m (US $200m) – up 8% year-on-year and driven by the outstanding performance of homegrown talent such as The Weeknd and Drake.

Non-domestic revenue hit CAN $66m (US $50m).

SOCAN reports that it saw a 460% increase in streaming revenue on 2015, which jumped to CAN $13m (US $10m).

Elsewhere, there was a 47% year-on-year jump in collections for streamed works in film and TV (‘AV composers’) where more than CAN $20m (US $15m) was collected.


“SOCAN’s work to lead the global transformation of music rights continues, benefitting music creators and publishers even more in terms of royalties identified, collected, and distributed in Canada and worldwide,” said CEO Eric Baptiste (pictured).

“Our efforts to improve our technology, partnerships and alliances, to be more accurate, more comprehensive, and faster are paying off for our members with new revenue and distribution records across-the-board in 2016.”

“Our efforts to improve our technology, partnerships and alliances, to be more accurate, more comprehensive, and faster are paying off for our members with new revenue and distribution records across-the-board in 2016.”

Eric Baptiste, SOCAN

Added Baptiste: “We are extremely proud of our members’ success at every level, and to witness music creators like The Weeknd, Drake, Alessia Cara, Johnny Reid, Alex Cuba, Arcade Fire, Shawn Mendes, Nineteen85, Simon Wilcox, Lesley Barber, the Strumbellas, Cœur de pirate, Kaytranada, Louis-Jean Cormier, Tanya Tagaq, Cristobal Tapia de Veer, Brett Kissel, Alex Nevsky, Keith Power and so many others rise to such lofty heights makes us appreciate even more the honour it is to represent them worldwide.

“SOCAN is only able to do this with the world’s best and brightest employees and partners who work every day for our members to receive what they have worked so hard to earn with their extraordinary talent and passion for music creation.”

SOCAN’s final figures will be determined following the March 2017 meeting of the SOCAN Board of Directors.Music Business Worldwide

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