Monday, May 13, 2013

My Response To A Conversation on Loud City About SOCAN and Royalty Payments

To Cody Lanktree and the Loud City team

Hi guys,
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Great show. I enjoyed the song choices. The discussion about SOCAN was intriguing. In the changing landscape of performing rights, publisher's rights, and licensing fees, the final chapter isn't yet written. Lots is up in the air.

The licensing agencies are having all kinds of difficulty gathering legitimate royalty money. There are reporting obligations on the part of those who use SOCAN registered music, such as venues (who choose to participate in the process, awkward as it is) and internet broadcasters (much harder, if not impossible to police).

And I do believe that many musicians who register their songs with SOCAN do not fully understand their rights for royalty payment. Some royalty money is forfeited because of that. I appreciate Kirby's comment about SOCAN educating venues more. Some of the education also has to go to the musicians who need to take initiative on collecting (applying for) payments. It's awkward and old-fashioned, but I believe it's built on principles that are ethical. There are just new systems and packages that need to be developed.

Whatever system we end up with, we will judge its merit by whether or not the money flows to the artists who have the "best" music, ie. the music that can be shown to have the largest audience, and which is in greatest demand.

I hope that a micro-music market can be set-up, where local venues buy music services that promote and pay local artists. A "buy local" movement for the music industry, if you will.

I don't think a model that is built on artificially propping up, or having artists pay for performance time, could possibly work. Rather, I believe venues (pubs, restaurants, cafes, even retail stores) will step up if they can do it legally and inexpensively. But they would be doing it because it's part of their brand identity to support the local artistic renaissance.

I think part of the venue resistance comes from knowing that their SOCAN licensing fee disappears down a black hole somewhere and doesn't go into the local economy.

New models for getting music out there are coming that will work for everyone. I hope Hamilton artists and entrepreneurs can have a role in shaping this new world.

Cheers Cody and all,

Glen Brown

Glen T Brown is the creator of HamiltonMusician.com Google

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