Streaming Companies Should Promote Canadian Music, Says SOCAN Study

A recent Leger study commissioned by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), Canada’s largest music copyright collective, found that 68% of Canadians agree that it is important for foreign internet streaming and social media companies to promote Canadian music on their platforms.

When Canadians were asked to respond to the statement, “I think it is important that foreign internet and social media companies contribute to and promote Canadian music, TV shows and movies,” 68% agreed, 19% said they didn’t know, and only 13% disagreed, SOCAN revealed on Wednesday.

What’s more, nearly a quarter (23%) of Canadians said they “strongly agree” with the sentiment. Quebec had the highest percentage of residents who “strongly” agreed with the statement, at 28%, and there was a consensus across Canada that the concept is important.

“It’s clear that Canadians agree overall that streaming services should be contributing to the creation and promotion of Canadian music,” said SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown.

“Canadian creators need support to continue to develop Canadian music in the world of streaming, and Canada must be a place for emerging music creators, where songwriters and composers can create, grow and thrive.”

18-year-old Vancouver Island resident Lauren Spencer-Smith, whose hit single Fingers Crossed topped several music charts last month, is one glowing example of up-and-coming Canadian music talent.

The opinion is especially prevalent among younger Canadians, 72% of whom said they strongly agreed or agreed that online streaming platforms should support made-in-Canada music.

Benefitting Canadian media content and its creators was the primary objective of the Liberal government-proposed Bill C-10 — an amendment to the Broadcasting Act designed to push taxes and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulation on all internet streaming services to ensure they contribute to and promote Canadian content like traditional broadcasters.

Bill C-10 died a slow death last spring after stirring up controversy over the possibility of putting social media video uploads under the CRTC’s purview.

A revised version of the legislation, dubbed the Online Streaming Act or Bill C-11, was re-tabled on Wednesday with a more refined focus on online streaming platforms and exemptions for (most) social media content.

“Streaming services have been in Canada for almost a decade without equitable support for music creators,” said SOCAN.

For every dollar in music licenses from Canadian TV and radio broadcasters, around 34 cents go to Canadian songwriters and composers, but for every dollar generated by music licenses held by online streaming services, only 10 cents remain in Canada.

The situation is even worse for francophone SOCAN members, who are only receiving 7% of all royalties from traditional media and a meagre 1.8% of royalties from digital media, said the organization.