Monthly Archives: May 2014

“The SOCAN” for “The SOCANs”

Published 05/29/2014

By Andrew Berthoff

SOCAN has once again made a little music industry history with the announcement of the music industry’s first major trophy that is actually a musical instrument in itself.

“The SOCAN” will be presented for the first time to the special achievement winners at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto on June 16, 2014, at the Westin Harbour Castle, and to future special achievement recipients at our French and English awards.

The idea for the trophy/instrument/artwork came back in November at a brainstorming session with a very small group. The kernel of concept began and grew into a “What if…” dream of doing something elegant, respectful and very different.

From that small group having the courage and encouragement to think big, to think different, and to know that every idea is potentially a great idea, the concept ultimately turned into something very different and, we think, meaningful and emblematic of what kind of organization SOCAN is.

We sourced the right partners to make the dream a reality, and the final result is a lasting first for SOCAN and the world music industry.

The SOCAN will be an ongoing image of the SOCAN Awards, as we integrate the image into almost everything we do to communicate the events going forward. The SOCAN will be closely identified with the SOCAN Awards, or, “The SOCANs,” as we also more casually call them.

Often the greatest ideas are the most obvious ones, but they’re often either overlooked or not mentioned for fear of embarrassment or failure. But throughout my career in communications and marketing, the majority of my “Eureka!” moments are those that, after the fact, seemed to be sitting there all along, right in front of us.

The SOCAN we think is an idea that will resonate and sustain– literally and musically – for many years, and we hope you like it.

Music industry circling the wagons…

Published 05/21/2014

By Jeff King

There’s no doubt that the music industry has been undergoing a dramatic transformation over at least the past 15 years. In fact, the pace of change seems to be accelerating as technological developments arise ever more quickly.

The Twitter-Facebook-YouTube-Tumblr-Instagram-iTunes universe was but a vague thought in the early 2000s. YouTube, for instance, didn’t even exist 10 years ago, but is now arguably the most accessed location for new music discovery, primed by social media recommendations and connections. Today, it’s hard to imagine the music industry without powerful tools like this.

Most industries, when faced with such disruptive technology, and undergoing such a dramatic shift, “circle the wagons” and develop whatever reasonable common views that they can in order to deal with the challenges that they face. For example, automobile manufacturers compete fiercely with each other, but all work together to advocate their positions to government regulators throughout the world to deal with safety and fuel economy regulations.

In contrast, the music industry has sometimes been inclined to circle the wagons and shoot at each other. Creators, performers, publishers, labels, platforms, fans, music consumers, artist managers, strategists, tech visionaries and the like all have very defined, specific and differing views. Issues as far-ranging as the economic value of the creator versus the performer, the role of technology in the industry, and the impact of piracy have been major points of contention and dispute.

Some of these differing views are held with great fervour.  As an industry, we provide very much a mixed bag of opinions, strategies and beliefs. The outcome is that opportunities to act decisively and move forward on key discussions of important issues – as a united music industry – are sometimes missed.

Global associations such as CISAC (International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies), the ICMP (International Confederation of Music Publishers), and the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) can provide some global direction. Some worldwide fields, such as high-quality data and metadata obligations, should be prime areas for stakeholders throughout the industry to co-operate, and move the conversation and the business forward.

But fundamentally, the discussions happen nationally or regionally. In that regard, SOCAN is leading the way for constructive collaboration. For example, within Canada, SOCAN is an eager participant in the ACCORD group of “like-minded organizations.” These nine participating organizations (so far) bring together many in the music-creator community to discuss major issues and perspectives.

SOCAN is also working closely with ASCAP and BMI on MusicMark, a business-driven solution to many of the challenges facing an increasingly borderless industry. Where these august American organizations once would have been unlikely to collaborate in a significant way, SOCAN has worked to bring all of us together for the greater good of the music industry. And SOCAN’s licensing agreements with YouTube and Google Play bridge our differing perspectives for the common good of the digital music providers, the music creators, and the music consumers.

Only through this kind of collaboration can the music industry move forward – together. We’ve said that the middle C in SOCAN (and the SOCAN logo) represents Creators, Canada, Collective, Connected. Clearly, it also stands for Collaboration.