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Audio Toye's #14 - SOCAN pt2

Brian Toye
March 22, 2011

How Do You Get Paid When You Get Played?

Royalties from the performance of works on radio account for over one quarter of the approximate $160M SOCAN distributes annually. Along with musical works used in live concerts and in TV shows, radio play is one of the key ways your compositions earn you money.

Where Does This Money Come From?

All of the 700+ radio stations licensed by the CRTC in Canada purchase a blanket license from SOCAN granting them permission to publicly broadcast – or “perform” – virtually any work or musical composition that exists in the world. This license fee – a small percentage of their advertising revenue or operating budget – is a tariff set by the Copyright Board of Canada. This tariff generates the bulk of the approximately $40M in domestic revenue SOCAN distributes annually.

Who Gets the Money?

Money is paid out to songwriters, composers and their publishers in proportion to how much of their music was used on the airwaves. At SOCAN, we use three different ways of tracking who gets played, and therefore who gets paid.

Radio Census

SOCAN obtains 100% census performance data from approximately 190 radio stations, which provides approximately 70% of SOCAN’s domestic radio revenue. SOCAN uses Digital Audio Identification technology, or DAI, which uses pattern recognition to identify musical works aired on radio by comparing them against a BDS library of known works.
• For more information about BDS, and to ensure your works are registered check the web site.

Radio Survey

SOCAN conducts an extensive survey of non-census commercial radio stations representing different music formats, regions and languages. Stations are surveyed 3 or 4 days each quarter of the year for a total of 14 days per year (only performances reported in these surveys are paid). Stations broadcasting less than 12 hours of local programming are not included in SOCAN's survey.

This survey system benefits those members having more widespread airplay of their works over a longer period of time. College and Community radio is also subject to a survey four times annually (3 or 4 day periods).
• Survey representation is accurate, but make sure that all of your works are registered by using SOCAN’s online works registration tools.

CBC Radio

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) national and regional radio performances are also subject to a census, meaning that all programming information received from the CBC is processed and paid. CBC programming is broken into local, regional and national broadcasts. The CBC provides airplay logs of national and regional programming on a census basis, and CBC local programming is paid out using a sample method.
• Census representation is accurate, but make sure that all of your works are registered by using SOCAN’s online works registration tools.