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Canadian Songwriters Earned on Average $67 in Royalties from Streaming in 2021

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Last year, on average, Canadian songwriters and composers earned a paltry $67 in royalties from digital platforms, says SOCAN, which collects royalties for the industry.

SOCAN, the body representing Canada’s songwriters and composers like Drake and Joni Mitchell, has revealed that on average musicians writing their own material earned only $67 last year in royalties from domestic streaming services.

Despite the low number, the organization said that overall Canadians gained record royalties from streaming platforms last year.

CEO Jennifer Brown told The Canadian Press that musicians with a large following — such as Drake and The Weeknd — are played regularly, but lesser-known Canadian artists struggle to be promoted in their home country.

Brown expressed support for Bill C-11, a law that would obligate digital platforms to further promote Canadian music by adding more homegrown music to playlists in the country to help support the career of aspiring musicians.

The bill, which is currently being debated, would apply to YouTube, Spotify, and other online streaming services to promote Canadian artists, similar to the way traditional radio stations must provide allotted airtime to Canadian music.

The difficulty is that streaming services work differently from traditional radio because people are able to select what and when they want to listen to music. Bill C-11 is likely to be flexible about promoting Canadian music.

Brown says the bill would also include financial contributions from streaming services to support Canadian talent with necessities such as recording studios.

Not everyone agrees with SOCAN’s take on Bill C-11. University of Ottawa Law Professor, Michael Geist, says SOCAN revenues have increased every year, helped by streaming services. Bill C-11 would essentially force-feed Canadian music and not show a true picture of what’s actually popular.

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