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A message from SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste

Eric Baptiste
Chief Executive Officer
CEO Eric Baptiste

The theme of this year’s annual report is “Step Ahead.”

What do we mean by this?

SOCAN’s vision is to lead the global transformation of music rights, and to do this we must take serious steps ahead, and we invite our members and stakeholders to step ahead themselves with us.

In 2015 SOCAN stepped ahead in so many ways and was a banner year for SOCAN. And we expect to step even further ahead in 2016.

Once again, all numbers were record highs (revenue and distribution) and record lows (costs). A total of $307.8 million were collected in 2015, including $62.7 million from international sources. We distributed $276.2 million to our Canadian and international rightsholders, all this at the incredibly low Corporate Net Expense Ratio of 9.2%.

We are very proud of these achievements that have been made possible by the strength of the repertoire we represent with many SOCAN members having topped major international charts throughout 2015, and by the hard work of all SOCAN staff in our Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, Los Angeles and Nashville offices.

With our Membership team we:

  • Unveiled a new online member registration system, that shortened the time to become a SOCAN member from literally weeks to less than 10 minutes.
  • Developed leading-edge application program interfaces (APIs) that allow third-party developers to securely harness our technology so that they can build their own software modules to their business and career advantage.


  • Increased our organization and sponsorship of song camps. Our first-ever SOCAN camp at Shobac, Nova Scotia, was a smash hit – in more ways than one.
  • Unveiled our regular “A&R Report,” which strives to broaden everybody’s opportunities by connecting writers with music publishers, in a mutually beneficial building of careers and business with the inside expertise and power that SOCAN brings to our members.
  • Deployed our ongoing “Get Set. Get Paid.” campaign to encourage SOCAN members to help themselves by sending in their set lists from live shows, so that they can promptly and accurately receive the royalties that they have fairly earned.

Our Licensing team stepped ahead in 2015:

  • Deployed data clean-up and a working design of a new IT system while concurrently collecting SOCAN’s highest domestic revenue in history ($242.9 million).
  • Generated $2.19 million in revenue from newly licensed accounts (15% increase over 2014 and our highest base of recurring business),
  • Generated a total of 4,224 newly licensed accounts (18% increase over 2014).
  • The eSOCAN B2B Portal saw more than 14,800 licensing reports submitted online (25.8% increase over 2014), and online payments of $1.2-million (40% increase over 2014).
  • Increased the momentum of our Licensed To Play program with licensed users of music such a as shops, restaurants or major festivals. SOCAN is more than ever a partner with organizations that use music to build their business.

Our Distribution team:

  • Leveraged SOCAN’s expertise in data, data processing and identification to offer third-party “white label” services.
  • Built systems to ingest billions of lines of data and tools to use for expanded business intelligence and predictive analysis of royalty trends.
  • Established our leadership in international initiatives to streamline and efficiently exchange data worldwide.

Our international team:

  • Proactively used monitoring tools to research and identify International television performances for which our members never received royalties.
  • Vigorously sent queries that resulted in over $1million of query-related revenue for our members from around the world.
  • Visited nine societies to enquire about response times on queries, accurate registrations of our works, news about changing conditions both for the societies and the business conditions in their markets.

With Québec affairs:

  • We opened new offices in Montréal in the heart of one of Québec’s most thriving music creation districts.
  • We now conduct regular board of directors and member meetings directly from our Montréal offices, thus making meetings more convenient and accessible – at a far lower cost – to all.
  • Enhanced our presence at all relevant events of the Quebec music ecosystem and delivered the first SOCAN Showcase at FrancoFolies de Montréal.
  • Hosted a revamped Montreal awards show at the iconic Metropolis, only a few blocks away from our new office.

With Communications & Marketing:

  • SOCAN extended our leadership with the media, gaining more coverage of the organization and its members in print, on television, on radio and across all online platforms.
  • We built our social media presence and capabilities, with SOCAN enjoying one of the largest digital footprints of possibly any organization in the Canadian music ecosystem.
  • Deployed a highly successful advertising campaign on licensing and the value of music for key music-using demographics.

And finally we stepped ahead in Government relations:

  • We organized our first ever and very successful SOCAN reception on Parliament Hill.
  • Strongly advocated for extension of copyright term to 70 years after life of creators.
  • Met major Federal, Quebec and Ontario government figures to advance the agenda of all SOCAN members.
  • Championed and coordinated advocacy coalitions ACCORD and Music Policy Coalition

These are only a few of the highlights and examples of SOCAN stepping ahead in 2015, and already in 2016 we continue our momentum forward to lead the global transformation of music rights by providing more leading edge services to enhance our transparency, accuracy and accountability and to enable all our members to truly benefit from the opportunities created by the digital age.

Our success runs across every department and aspect of SOCAN, and I encourage you to read more throughout our new annual report.

A message from SOCAN President

Stan Meissner
Board President, Songwriter
stan meissner

Twenty-fifteen was an exciting year for SOCAN as we continued to step ahead into the future and forge new paths.

SOCAN is on the leading edge of performing rights organizations around the world, and with some very forward-thinking acquisitions and expanded business, we’re confident that SOCAN will become one of the, if not the most well-positioned and well-equipped performing rights organizations in the world to face the needs created by constant change in the digital environment.

Throughout 2015 and into 2016, SOCAN’s Board of Directors and management have been developing SOCAN’s new strategic plan. Given the rapid and radically changing global landscape, we felt the need to boldly step ahead. Our new vision is one where we SOCAN leading the global transformation of music rights.

To accomplish this, we’ve established five new strategic objectives:

  • Expansion of Rights – move beyond just the performing right.
  • Expansion of Territory – offer services to members and others in related rights-oriented work beyond the borders of Canada, operating globally to reflect the changing, global nature of our business.
  • Expansion of Business Lines – offer different kinds of services within our areas of expertise.
  • Service Relevance – be effective and efficient with the services that we offer, accurately and transparently.
  • Operational Innovation – be ahead of the curve in adopting new technologies, developing new tools, or making strategic acquisitions to offer unparalleled service to our members and clients.


SOCAN is striving to be the leading music rights organization in the world, and by diversifying, we stay relevant in the changing ecosystem. Not taking these bold initiatives leaves us in a vulnerable, marginalized position.

In 2015, SOCAN held its Board elections. Through a robust nomination and election process, we’re happy to see that, while we have a great degree of continuity on our board, we elected a couple of new faces: Robert Ott, a publisher member and CEO of ole, and songwriter member Safwan Javed.

We also renegotiated and renewed our contract with CEO Eric Baptiste, demonstrating how pleased we are with his stewardship, vision and leadership. The new five-year contract will see him continue on as CEO until 2021.

In addition to these activities, as part of the ongoing annual work of the Board of Directors and its standing committees (Executive Governance; Risk Identification & Management; Tariff, Licensing & Distribution; and Membership), we engaged in a myriad of tasks including monitoring and reviewing budgets and forecasts; managing SOCAN’s investments and other financial activities; evaluating CEO Eric Baptiste’s performance; engaging in a thorough board and peer assessment; overseeing our many member events, including our AGM and awards ceremonies; and reviewing our communication strategies, policies and activities.

In February 2015, SOCAN opened a new office in Montreal in a hip, urban location that reflects SOCAN’s leading-edge image. The move included some key re-organization and staffing changes to improve our service and efficiency.

Throughout 2015, SOCAN continued down its path of innovation and modernization by further developing its BEST (Business Enterprise Solution for Tomorrow) computer system to deal with the explosive data requirements necessary to the track billions of performances in the digital world. The entire system is anticipated to be fully operational by the end of 2016.

SOCAN’s affiliation with the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame saw its footprint increase in 2015, as we focused on building core initiatives to re-invigorate and raise public awareness of the organization and its inductees. To this end, we introduced the Covered Classics series in collaboration with CBC/Radio-Canada. The series publicly honours songs newly inducted into the Hall of Fame with tribute performances by some of our nation’s brightest musical talents. A total of 12 songs were inducted in 2015, with fresh performances by Nikki Yanofsky, Matthew Barber, Justin Rutledge, Jill Barber, Royal Wood and Alejandra Ribera, just to name a few.

We also further cemented the CSHF’s partnership with the National Music Centre, where the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame now has a permanent home in Calgary within Studio Bell. This partnership will allow the Hall of Fame to highlight its inductees’ achievements and significant contributions to music, and have their legacy preserved through exhibitions at the National Music Centre. Studio Bell is set to open to the public in the summer of 2016, and we’re thrilled to be part of it.

All in all, SOCAN, its board and staff had a very active and transformative 2015, and through our ongoing efforts and many changes, we continue to step ahead as a leading performing rights organization in the world.

2015 Key Highlights

Overview Highlights

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