If you’re a Canadian musician/composer, you’re probably a member of SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. As a performing rights organization (PRO), its job is to collect performance fees for its members. For example, radio stations pay SOCAN for the privilege of playing music as part of their business. All broadcasters, clubs, arenas, shopping malls and even individual stores and offices are also obliged to pay SOCAN fees.
Then there’s the Canadian Music Reproduction Rights Agency. They also collect fees on behalf of their membership for things like broadcasting (over the air and online) as well has collect license fees for the mechanical reproduction of music media as well as fees related to things like webcasting, downloads and streaming.
Now, though, SOCAN is horning in on the CMRRA’s territory. It just bought Audiam, a New York-based company that does the same sort of things the CMRRA does. In many ways, they compete head-to-head for musicians’ and composers’ business. Audiam has also been very critical of the way the CMRRA has conducted its business.
This is pretty inside baseball for most people, but we could be looking at a war within the music collective universe. This could get very interesting.