YouTube earnings unlocked for SOCAN members

November 15, 2013


SOCAN has entered into a groundbreaking agreement with Audiam that will make it easier for SOCAN members to receive additional money that they deserve from the use of their music in any videos posted to YouTube.

The deal is believed to be the first of its kind for a performing rights organization and allows unsigned artists and unsigned songwriters, or their record labels and publishers, to collect money from:

  • Fans covering their songs on YouTube
  • Fan lyric videos
  • Fan-created "album cover" or static image videos
  • Fan videos of live performances
  • Official music videos
  • Fan-created music videos
  • Any other type of video on YouTube using their song, either from the original recording or a new version

Launched in July 2013, Audiam identifies and collects money earned by songwriters and music publishers for use of their works in YouTube videos, including songs written and/or recorded by major artists such as Brad Lyons (Oceanship), Bluewater Music Canada, Jason Mraz, Steve Vai, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Dixie Chicks, George Strait, Tim McGraw, Jimmy Buffett, The Doobie Brothers, Brandon Boyd (Incubus), Rodney Carrington, Miranda Lambert, Steve Lee, 50 Cent, Ron Pope and many more.

Earlier in 2013, SOCAN granted YouTube a performing rights license for Canada covering the years from 2007 to the present, but now SOCAN members can also sign up with Audiam to earn additional money from rights – other than from the rights that are administered by SOCAN – whenever ads are shown next to videos containing their songs, whether uploaded by the rights-holder or by the millions of other YouTube users.

"SOCAN members now can obtain an additional revenue stream on YouTube with Audiam," said Eric Baptiste, chief executive officer of SOCAN. "YouTube is the number-one destination site on the planet for music discovery, streaming more than a trillion views annually across billions of videos. Our members should be compensated for the commercial use of their music no matter where it appears. With the SOCAN and Audiam cooperation, we make possible and practical the extraordinarily complicated process of identifying, tracking and collecting money that SOCAN members have rightfully earned, including for the first time revenues above and beyond the one generated by copyright licensing."

The new worldwide deal between SOCAN and Audiam complements SOCAN's more traditional Canadian licensing agreement with YouTube, generating additional YouTube income for creators and publishers affiliated with SOCAN, securing them an even larger portion of YouTube revenues. This multipronged approach is consistent with SOCAN's view that in today's digital and borderless world, collective rights management organizations should explore innovative ways to uphold the value of the music created or published by their members on new outlets or services.

The agreement between SOCAN and Audiam enables SOCAN members to:

  • Identify YouTube videos using participating SOCAN members' music
  • Authorize YouTube to place advertising on the videos, ensuring that every video generates revenue
  • Collect money and pay participating SOCAN members for the plays of their music in YouTube videos
  • Advocate for and enforce SOCAN members' rights
  • Track and obtain back-revenues owed to songwriters, composers and music publishers
  • Arrange for a "buy link" to be posted below YouTube videos with their songs

"As the music industry continues to change at lightning speed, there is one thing that should stay constant: artists, publishers, composers and songwriters deserve to get paid for the use of their music," said Jeff Price, CEO and founder of Audiam. "YouTube is now the number-one destination site on the planet for music streaming, sharing and consumption. This deal is a testament to SOCAN's executives and staff that it is once again leading by example through cutting-edge business deals and partnerships that assure its members get paid. It's a privilege to have Audiam work with SOCAN and its members."

There is no up-front fee to join Audiam. In return for the comprehensive service, Audiam normally charges a 25-percent administration fee of whatever it collects from YouTube for videos using music that Audiam represents outside of a member's own YouTube "channel."

To get started, go here. Once you create an account, you simply provide song and publishing information.

SOCAN will provide technology and distribution support, as well as a detailed and transparent accounting of revenues tracked, collected and paid to the member. The organization's back-office integration with Audiam's systems enables seamless accounting for SOCAN members who join Audiam.

Before signing up with Audiam's program, SOCAN strongly advises members to ensure that they have not already assigned the relevant rights to a third-party, such as a record company or music publisher. The third-party may have the right to make their own arrangements to collect non-performance revenue, and/or use Audiam themselves.