About Royalties

Navigating your quarterly royalty statement from SOCAN can be tricky.  Below is some valuable information on how your SOCAN royalties are calculated for different music uses. Can’t find what you’re looking for?  Contact our info centre at 1.866.307.6226 or send us an email at members@socan.ca.

Royalties are distributed to SOCAN members on a quarterly basis; Feb. 15, May 15, Aug. 15, and Nov. 15. Generally, members can expect to receive payment seven to ten months after their performances within Canada and longer for international performances. This time lag is required for SOCAN to gather all necessary performance data and match it to the appropriate works and cue sheets. SOCAN enjoys an excellent working relationship with many of the data suppliers however the timely receipt of data is beyond SOCAN's control.

SOCAN Distribution Schedule


SOCAN's Internet Distribution

SOCAN's Simplified Distribution Rules

Royalties are calculated differently for different music uses:

SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is performed on the Internet. SOCAN currently licenses a number of Internet music uses including music streaming (audio and video), YouTube, simulcasting of terrestrial radio, webcasting, karaoke, and video games. We are in negotiation to license many more services, such as online concerts.

Monies received from audio and video websites including YouTube, as well as game sites, Internet Radio, and karaoke sites, are paid out in our Internet distribution and are based on information received from the licensed Internet services for their online music usage during each distribution period. 

Monies received from YouTube Movies On Demand are paid out in our Cinema distribution based on data provided by the service.

Monies from terrestrial broadcast and cable television stations streaming music online are paid out via the Radio, Television and Cable distributions based on terrestrial programming.

Note that, at this time, SOCAN does not collect fees or distribute for the following Internet services: social networking; crowd funding; music distribution; music libraries; music downloads.

SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is performed live in concert. Anything from a large outdoor music festival to a small club/bar performance can be considered a live performance that may be eligible for a concert distribution, if the venue or promoter is licensed by SOCAN. (A $6 per person minimum cover must be charged for any club performance in order for it to be eligible for payment by SOCAN.)

To receive concert royalties, members must submit a Notification of Live Music Performance (NLMP) form that provides details about their performance. Along with the NLMP, and proof of the performance (eg. ticket stub, newspaper clipping, program book, contract, or letter/email from the presenter) are also required to prove that the performance took place. You have up to one year from the date of performance to submit this information to SOCAN.

Generally, members can expect royalties to be paid nine months after a live performance; however, this is pending SOCAN’s receipt of your information as well as the payment of the licence fee from the presenter.

SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is played on the radio. Anything from high-rotation airplay on a commercial radio station in a major market to a handful of airings on a campus radio station is eligible for radio royalties.

Royalties are based on the licence fees that are collected from the radio stations playing the songs, so royalty payments will vary. To calculate the payment for each performance, SOCAN divides the money available for distribution by the number of songs logged.

SOCAN uses digital audio identification technology to electronically monitor more than 200 commercial radio stations. Royalties are paid to all of the creators and publishers of all of the songs played on those stations. The CBC national and regional programming data is also captured in this way.

Since it's not cost-effective to log every single musical performance on every single radio station in Canada, SOCAN samples the remaining commercial radio stations once every quarter for 28 days to identify the performances of our members’ songs. Non-commercial, campus, and community radio stations as well as CBC local programming are also sampled.

Satellite Radio
SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is played on satellite radio services.

In November 2011, SOCAN members received their first royalties for the use of music on satellite radio. Regular distribution of satellite radio royalties will start with the February 15, 2012 royalties payment.

Television and Cable
SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is played on television. Payment per performance on TV does vary from distribution to distribution, so royalties vary according to the television station, time of day of the performance, and type of music use (i.e. feature or background).

To calculate TV royalties, SOCAN relies on programming information provided by an independent broadcast data company, television stations themselves, and cue sheets, which list the musical contents of each program. Members should inform SOCAN of any TV performances of their music and and ensure, if possible, that cue sheets (signed by the program producer) are submitted to SOCAN for those programs.

SOCAN analyzes all cue sheets received for programs aired on local commercial stations (including CTV and Global affiliates), cable stations, public stations (e.g. TV Ontario and Télé-Québec), and the CBC, Radio-Canada, TVA, and TQS networks. Cue sheets are submitted by Canadian and international producers and distributors, international performing rights organizations, and broadcasters, as well as members.

SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is used in movies shown in theatres. SOCAN relies on music cue sheets from producers to calculate film royalties. Members should inform SOCAN of any film performances of their music and ensure, if possible, that cue sheets (signed by the program producer) are submitted to SOCAN for those films.

Ringtones are digital sound files that a mobile telephone plays to indicate an incoming call. Quarterly distribution for current ringtones performances began in February 2010, and ringtone arrears have already been paid to cover 2003-2008. The amount paid per ringtone will vary each quarter based on the licence fees received and the number of performances identified. Ringtone royalties will be listed  on a separate page of member statements called the Ringtone Royalty Statement, where the source on the statement will be listed as DRNG.

SOCAN members are paid royalties when their music is performed in most countries around the world. Through reciprocal agreements with many performing rights organizations (PROs) throughout the world – like ASCAP in the U.S., PRS For Music in the U.K. and SACEM in France – SOCAN receives royalties from them for performances of SOCAN members’ music. In turn, SOCAN distributes royalties to its affiliated PROs for performances of their members’ work in Canada. International royalties are included in SOCAN’s quarterly distribution.

Members should provide information to SOCAN about international performances. SOCAN will, in turn, keep international PROs updated about our members’ repertoire and performances for the purpose of administering them in their territory and providing performance royalties to members through SOCAN.

SOCAN reviews international music publications regularly to track our members’ activities abroad. SOCAN and its affiliated PROs obtain international record release information through the international CISNet database.

Private Copying
The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) is a non-profit agency charged with collecting and distributing private copying royalties. A "private copy" is a copy of a piece (or part of a piece) of recorded music made by an individual for his or her own personal use.

Canada's Copyright Act was revised in 1997 to allow consumers to copy recorded music for personal use; in exchange, legislators allowed for a royalty to provide remuneration for private copying to the copyright owners of that recorded music, including SOCAN members. Established in 1999, the CPCC is a collective of collectives (including SOCAN) that represent music creators, music publishers, recording artists and record companies. The CPCC is responsible for proposing which media should be covered by the royalty, and the rates for such media. Currently, the CPCC is advocating to extend the private copying levy to digital music players.

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