The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada  has announced its financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, showing that an upsurge in cable, concerts and international performance helped drive compensation to songwriters and music publishers.
“Despite the huge disappointment from the July Supreme Court of Canada decision on music downloads, 2012 overall must be regarded as a positive year for SOCAN and our more than 115,000 members,” said Eric Baptiste, CEO of SOCAN. “Canadian and international songwriters and music publishers continue to have a significant positive impact on domestic and world music economies. Expanding revenues from a wider variety of sources underscores the value that music brings to our lives, and businesses increasingly appear to be realizing the importance of compensating fairly those who create it.”
Total revenue was $252.1-million, versus $266.7-million in 2011. The difference was due almost entirely to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision relating to downloaded music. The ruling against songwriters and publishers resulted in SOCAN refunding $21.4-million in compensation previously brought in under Tariff 22A that would otherwise have been distributed in 2012 and early 2013 to creators and publishers.
Excluding the Tariff 22A refund to digital distribution corporations, total SOCAN revenue increased $6.8-million, or 2.5 per cent, year-over-year, reflecting both the underlying strength of businesses using music in Canada and the dedication of SOCAN’s teams to proactively license the performing rights of SOCAN’s members, a revenue source of growing importance for thousands of Canadian creators in a fast-changing music industry environment.
2012 Financial Highlights
- Distribution of $219.6-million to SOCAN members in 2012. This was less than the record breaking $261.5-million paid out in 2011, as $52.8-million of distributions in 2011 were special one-time payments to members due to Radio and Ringtones arrears distributions. Excluding that one-time surge, and in a fair comparison, distributions to songwriters and music publishers in 2012 were 5.2 per cent more than in 2011.
- Cable revenues increased 8.8 per cent to $64.3-million in 2012, continuing to be a strong source of compensation for SOCAN members.
- Revenue from international sources increased 3.8 per cent to $47.3-million. Even with a strong Canadian dollar, robust international performance of copyright music further exemplified the enduring popularity of Canadian songwriters globally and SOCAN’s increased efforts to look after the interests of its members abroad.
- Live music enthusiasts helped SOCAN achieve a record-setting $20.9-million in live performance revenue – a 14.2 per cent increase from 2011.
- More than $5-million in new business emerged in 2012, with audio visual streaming websites comprising a significant portion of new music licensing compensation for SOCAN members.
- In 2012, as always, SOCAN ensured that its operations were cost-effective, investing in new technology initiatives to improve service to members, efficiently managing licensing and distribution activities with state-of-the-art tools, positioning itself to be a world leader in the digital music age. Of every dollar that SOCAN brought in, 85 cents went to songwriters and music publishers.