Published Mar 28, 2011I play for two different rock bands in Vancouver. All members of our bands are SOCAN members and we register all works with the organization. We have done probably about a dozen community and college radio interviews over the last year and had our music played quite a bit. My question is why there has been next to no compensation from SOCAN? On another note, I attended a SOCAN industry "show and tell" where they explained that a club has to pay them every time they have an artist play. I have personally played live about 80 times at various venues in the last couple years and I have never heard of any club (in western Canada anyway) that practices this. Is this an actual rule that the clubs are breaking? Or is this simply not true?
Anonymous in Vancouver
A couple of things are happening that lead to you seeing very few performance royalties from SOCAN. First, radio stations pay different license fees to SOCAN. Commercial radio pays higher fees and community radio pays a very much lower fee. The fees that they pay are what go into the big pot. Second, how much you get paid depends on how much you get played, and where. If you're not getting any commercial radio play, you won't be getting much in the way of performance royalties from radio. Interviews, by the way, don't lead to any royalties ― it's only when they play the music that matters.
Any business that "publicly performs" copyrighted music, whether by playing recorded music or putting on live music, is required to have a license to do so. SOCAN issues the licenses and collects the fees. If club owners aren't doing it, they are indeed breaking the rules set out by the Copyright Board ― and even worse, they are screwing you out of the chance to earn money from performance royalties. Did you know that you can collect royalties from SOCAN when you play certain live shows? I won't go into the details, but I strongly recommend you spend time cruising around the SOCAN website at www.socan.ca and reading up on how to get the royalties your music should be earning.
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