Royalties in Canada | Musicians earned $67 on average

(OTTAWA) Musicians who write their own material earned an average of just $67 last year in revenue from Canada’s streaming services, the body representing Canadian songwriters revealed.

Posted at 10:50 AM

Mary Wolf
Canadian Press

The Society of Composers, Composers and Music Publishers of Canada – SOCAN – which collects royalties from musicians, including Drake, Joni Mitchell and Down with Webster, said Canadians overall had record revenues on streaming platforms last year.

The nonprofit collects payments from radio stations, TV stations, and digital platforms, including Spotify, YouTube, and streaming services. In a new financial report, SOCAN notes that for the first time in its history, licensed music groups are expected to exceed $416 million annually. These numbers will be confirmed in its annual report in June.

Despite the pandemic momentum that has prompted more people to download music at home than to release it, Canadian songwriters represented by SOCAN earned an average of just $67.14 in revenue from Canadian digital streaming services in 2021.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, CEO Jennifer Brown said that while popular artists like Drake and The Weeknd are featured on a regular basis, Canadian musicians who aren’t popular may have a hard time getting featured in Canada.

She says a law forcing streaming platforms to add more Canadian music to their playlists in Canada will give musicians a boost and support early in their careers.

Bill C-11, currently under discussion, would ensure that digital platforms, including Spotify and YouTube, promote Canadian music in the same way as traditional radio stations, which must provide airtime for Canadian music.

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according to mme Brown says it’s important for emerging songwriters and listeners to showcase Canadian platforms to help them gain exposure and reach a wider audience.

It also believes that the income of songwriters from digital platforms will soon exceed royalties from traditional sources, such as broadcasts from radio stations.

to mme Brown, the observation that Canadian musicians earn so little from digital platforms can discourage young artists who want to pursue a career in music.

The bill would also require digital platforms to contribute financially to support musical talent and fund “infrastructure” such as recording brouwn.

However, YouTube warns that forcing it to promote the work of Canadians rather than carefully choosing content to suit individual tastes may not lead to a greater selection of Canadian content overall.

This could, due to the way the algorithm work, reduce the flow of some Canadian content out of Canada, as many Canadian artists earn most of their money.

Michael Guest, Canada Research Chair in Internet Law at the University of Ottawa, warns that “enforcing” Canadian content could make it appear less popular than it is, and lead to being demoted by the algorithms of streaming platforms.

He warned that the bill could affect the income that Canadian musicians make abroad on digital platforms.

On the contrary, Brown argues that the measures in the bill will not only offer more listeners to Canadian music, but also increase royalties for Canadian musicians.

SOCAN, whose members include Michael Buble, Gordon Lightfoot and drugstore Leonard Cohen, raised $135 million last year from using online music alone.

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It has also collected revenue from streaming platforms, including Netflix, including featured songs signed by Canadian songwriters and composers.

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