Why is SOCAN considering music only from sites that are licensed to play it?

SOCAN fights for the rights of those who create and publish music. But we also work with digital music providers to ensure that music creators are fairly compensated for their hard work and extraordinary talent. SOCAN works tirelessly to reconcile sustainable digital music models – whose existence ultimately benefits our members – with fair royalty payments for music creators.

SOCAN strives for what's fair for everyone: music businesses, listeners, creators and publishers.

There are several digital music distribution platforms that SOCAN has worked to license, but which so far do not have a licensing agreement with SOCAN that enables our members to be fairly compensated for the use of their songs or compositions. For SOCAN, an organization that exists to ensure fair compensation for its songwriters, composers and publishers, it would be hypocritical to choose a Song of the Week based on a link to a site that does not compensate our members at all, let alone fairly.

Some digital distribution platforms are building businesses worth millions of dollars without paying a penny to the music creators. Without music creators and music publishers, they would have nothing to distribute.

Some even seem to expect songwriters and composers to sign up to their services royalty-free, as per their terms of use disclaimers, but there’s no valid reason why these companies can’t, and shouldn’t, pay those who create the music that is the fundamental foundation of their business. Music licensing is how songwriters make a living, and technological advances, and considerable profits, should not be made on the backs of their unlicensed content.

If you choose to sign up to an online music distribution service, be very sure of what services they’re offering, and check the terms of use very carefully to understand whether you’re granting them a free license to use your work, or undermining your rights to be paid as a songwriter.  Your review should also ensure that any terms you accept do not purport to grant rights you have already granted to a publisher or other music rights organization, such as SOCAN, SODRAC, CMRRA, etc.

You can help to ensure fair compensation for music creators and publishers by expressing your support for our efforts to negotiate fair payment from these unlicensed music distribution websites.