FAQ – Royalties

What if I’m a member but my co-writer is not?
You can register the song, indicating the division of ownership shares and we will distribute your portion to you. Your co-writer will, unfortunately, not collect until he or she joins SOCAN.

Should I give my producer songwriter credits?
Music copyright belongs to the creator of the song. Typically, the producer is paid for his/her work and does not share royalties which accrue as a result of exploitation of the song.

Can I claim performance royalties if I am arranging, orchestrating, transcribing or adapting a public domain work?
Yes. You can claim shares if the work is in the public domain. SOCAN'S distributing rules provide for credits that may vary depending upon the nature of the arrangement.

How often are royalty payments made?
SOCAN makes royalty payments of $0.25 or more to its members on a quarterly basis, beginning February 15 of each calendar year. Members earning less than $500 per distribution quarter will only be paid through direct deposit into their accounts. Members who earn more than $500 in a particular quarter have the option of receiving their earnings by direct deposit or cheque.

How are royalties divided among co-writers, band members, producers and others?
Tell us how you want the royalties allocated, and we’ll make sure the royalties are sent in the percentages you have agreed and advised SOCAN.

Does SOCAN distribute only performance royalties?
SOCAN distributes royalties collected by the Canadian Private Copying Collective to compensate copyright holders for the recording of musical works for private use. Members must first assign this right to SOCAN in writing so that SOCAN can distribute these royalties.

Does SOCAN issue advance royalty payments to members?
Yes. SOCAN does offer advances to qualifying members upon request. Advances are based on a consideration of a member’s past earning history and the confirmation of any monies expected to be earned in very near future. The amount issued is expected to be recouped by the member over the following two distribution quarters. Interest will accrue if the advance is not recouped within one year.

Should I keep track of the performances of my music?
While SOCAN works on your behalf to acquire all the necessary data to make royalty payments for performances of your music, we don't always receive complete information. You can assist us by notifying SOCAN of any CBC, television, concert, or international performance of your music.

Who decides how much a music user pays to SOCAN?
SOCAN licence fees are set by the Copyright Board of Canada, an independent body appointed by the government. Each year SOCAN files proposed tariffs with the Copyright Board. Interested parties are then permitted to submit objections to SOCAN's proposals within a limited period. If an objection or concern is raised concerning a particular tariff, the Copyright Board may hold a hearing. After hearings are completed and any amendments are made, the Copyright Board publishes the approved tariffs in the Canada Gazette.

How do I know where my music was played?
Your distribution statement includes information about the source of radio and television performances. For additional details, please contact SOCAN at 1-866-307-6226 or members@socan.ca.

Does SOCAN distribute royalties for commercials and public service announcements?
SOCAN does not collect royalties for music used in commercials or public service announcements of 60 seconds or less. Any performance over 60 seconds may be processed for payment, providing we receive the appropriate programming information.

Does SOCAN charge a processing fee on incoming international royalties?
No processing fees are charged on incoming monies received from international societies.

If you have further questions about how SOCAN pays royalties, please contact SOCAN at 1-866-307-6226 or members@socan.ca.