Canadian Songwriters Made $67 in Royalties On Average from Digital Platforms in 2021

The body representing songwriters and composers of Canada has revealed that, on average, musicians who write their own materials earned just $67 last year in royalties from domestic streaming services. SOCAN, which is responsible for collecting musicians' royalties, including some celebrities like Drake, Joni Mitchell and Down with Webster, stated that Canadians overall gained record royalties from streaming platforms last year.

SOCAN is a not-for-profit body that collects payments from TV stations, radio stations, and digital platforms, including but not limited to YouTube, Spotify, and many others. In a new financial report, SOCAN said that the collections for licensed music are expected to exceed $416 million a year for the first time in history. Those figures will be confirmed when an annual report is shared in June.

Though the pandemic led people to stream music more as they were at home, there were no big earnings for Canadian songwriters represented by SOCAN. They earned an average of just $67.14 in royalties from Canadian digital streaming services last year.

In an interview, the CEO of SOCAN, Jennifer Brown, stated that though artists like The Weeknd and Drake are played regularly, less well-known songwriters struggle to get promoted in Canada. She said that the law before Parliament might help. This law would oblige streaming platforms to add more Canadian music to playlists in Canada so that musicians can get supported to get started and get a career boost.

The law she refers to is Bill C-11, which is being debated now. If passed, it will make digital platforms like YouTube and Spotify promote Canadian music just like traditional radio stations that give Canadian music allotted airtime. As radio and digital platforms work differently, the bill will give flexibility about how to promote Canadian musicians' work.

Brown said that it's vital for listeners and songwriting talent that all platforms showcase Canadians to get discovered and reach a wider audience. She also predicted that SOCAN's collections from digital platforms would overtake collections from traditional sources like airtime on radio stations in the near future.

Brown also said that young artists might not be keen to have a career in music when they find out how little Canadian musicians earn from digital platforms.

University of Ottawa's Canada Research Chair in internet law, Michael Geist, said making platforms "force-feed" Canadian content might suggest that the music is less popular than it is in reality. It might lead to it being downgraded by algorithms of the streaming platforms. He also wanted that the bill might impact the amount of revenue Canadian musicians earn from outside the country on different digital platforms.

Brown stated that certain measures in the bill would introduce more listeners to Canadian music and ensure that Canadian musicians could earn more royalties.

The rights management body, whose members include Gordon Lightfoot, Michael Buble,  and the estate of Leonard Cohen, collected $135 million last year from the use of music on the internet alone. It also collected royalties from streaming platforms such as Netflix for theme tunes penned by Canadian songwriters and composers.

Sources:                                                                                    's,royalties%20from%20domestic%20streaming%20services.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


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