By Catharine Saxberg
On the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated the week of Dec. 19, 2015 – after dominating the top of the chart since September – Canadian artists owned seven of the Top 10 spots. That included four SOCAN members: Drake at No. 3 with “Hotline Bling,” The Weeknd at No. 5 with “The Hills,” Shawn Mendes at No. 6 with “Stitches,” and Alessia Cara at No. 8 with “Here.”
Adele was No. 1 with “Hello,” but SOCAN member Tobias Jesso Jr. co-wrote “When We Were Young” with her, a song included in her album 25, which has sold seven million units in less than a month. Rolling Stone called the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” the top song of 2015, and the Grammys gave him seven nominations. Drake earned three Grammy nominations on his own, and two as a feature on Nicki Minaj recordings. Several other SOCAN members also received multiple Grammy nods, including Belly, Daheala, Stephan Moccio and Boi-!da.
Canadian music – and SOCAN member-created music – is clearly punching well above its weight class internationally, and especially in the crucial American market. This is great news for Canada’s musical reputation, and for those artists.
But it’s also great news for all SOCAN members. Partly because of this unprecedented wave of their music at the top of the charts, we’re estimating another record year for international royalties in 2015. We’re looking at a significant improvement and a new record for international revenue collected in 2015, compared with a record $55-million in 2014. Year upon year, our foreign royalties numbers are just getting better.
But it’s not only chart-topping music that‘s increased our international revenues. Day in and day out, SOCAN’s International Department concentrates its efforts on getting more money into our members’ hands, more quickly and efficiently. We’re constantly searching for new sources of performance data, and developing new analytical tools, both of which can help SOCAN better and more effectively track international revenue. We’re also developing new internal processes to do things faster and more transparently, with policies to ensure that we even better understand our members’ activities worldwide.
Some examples? Our international department personnel have visited music rights organizations worldwide, to more effectively stake our claims as we chase down the royalties that our members have earned. One of the analytical tools we’re developing will identify anomalies in foreign TV payments to better see how the shows are performing, allowing SOCAN to further research anything that seems out of line. On any given day, we might be mining through an unidentified audio-visual performances list of 100,000 lines of data from an affiliated U.S. rights organization, looking for our members’ interests, then making claims on their behalf.
Canadian music is doing great, and with SOCAN’s efforts added to that, so will our members’ royalties as we move forward together.