Why a SOCAN Licence?

A SOCAN licence gives you the freedom and flexibility to use virtually any music you want for your business or public event - legally, ethically, and easily. Without SOCAN, you would have to get permission and negotiate a royalty with every songwriter, lyricist, and music publisher whose work you intend to play (publicly perform) – a feat that most of us have neither the time nor the means to achieve. Instead, SOCAN makes this process simple by allowing users to pay a relatively small fee, often once a year, which is distributed to music creators in Canada and around the world through our reciprocal agreements with similar societies. The fees are distributed fairly to our Members who are composers, authors, and publishers of music, according to distribution rules approved by our Board of Directors.

By law, permission to publicly perform music in your business is not automatically granted when you purchase CD’s, mp3’s, or subscribe to online music services, etc. – doing this only allows you to use the music for private (non-commercial) purposes. Similarly, when you hire musicians to play music in your establishment or at a public event, the fees paid to them are for their performance, not to compensate the authors and publishers of the songs they perform. Even when performers play their own songs, they are entitled to separate compensation for those different efforts.

SOCAN operates in accordance with tariffs certified by the Copyright Board of Canada. There are now over 20 different tariffs that correspond to different ways you can use music. As a not-for-profit organization, SOCAN put 86 cents of every dollar it collected in 2011 from license fees into the pockets of music creators and publishers; the rest was used to run the organization.